Wise co-founder: Estonia needs changes in political landscape to improve

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Wise co-founder Taavet Hinrikus. Source: ERR

A recent €50,000 donation from technological companies to Estonian parties stems from a desire to see change in the political landscape as that is the way to improve the country, said Transferwise (now known as Wise - ed) co-founder Taavet Hinrikus.

Hinrikus told ETV's political interview show "Esimene stuudio" that parties tend to receive donations from either fanatics or people who hope to see change. Technology companies, who recently donated to certain Estonian parties, wish to change the political landscape.

15 IT companies, along with Hinrikus, donated a total of €50,000 to non-parliamentary Eesti 200, prime ministerial Reform Party, opposition Social Democratic Party and Parempoolsed (Right-wingers), an association formed within the Isamaa Party.

"It is funny, if we would have thought a few years ago, this step would have seemed strange," Hinrikus said about the donation, adding that he wishes to change Estonia for the better before anything else but there are very few ways to do so.

He said it is important to bring new people into politics and trying to get them to discuss different topics. "We support an open Estonia. I think that if Estonia is a small country and we build these giant walls around us, it is not in the interest of a better Estonia," Hinrikus said.

The entrepreneur said that the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) worked against a better Estonia, when they were in the previous government coalition. "They were able to cross off so much of what was achieved in the previous government period," he noted.

Hinrikus said Estonia would benefit from large investments into education and more open migration policy.

Cannot give Estonian crisis leaders a positive grade

Hinrikus noted that crisis management in Estonia, especially when it comes to vaccinations, has not been up to par. "The drama surrounding vaccinations currently - I think it is drama that would lead to quite a few people losing their jobs in the private sector," he said.

Hinrikus said the state's IT solutions could also use some work and that the creation of a digital state cannot be done how it was 20 years ago. He added that development is the most important factor and it cannot be overlooked, because that would lead to digital platforms collapsing.

"There is competition between countries, if the country performs better, they receive more money," he noted.

At the same time, Hinrikus noted that the Tax and Customs Board's e-solutions work well for example, but there are many platforms that could have their use be made more comfortable.

"What we saw in connection to the corona has been the greatest digital accelerant in the entire world," the entrepreneur said and added that investments into development and talent are key.

He said digital development is already the Estonian economy's engine and digital solutions are necessary in each economic sector. The solutions will however be capped if talent runs out, which has led to the creation of Jõhvi Coding School, which Hinrikus and several other well-known enterpreneurs will open in Ida-Viru County this year.

TransferWise cofounder Taavet Hinrikus Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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