Coalition plans to alleviate high electricity prices, talks in progress
The Reform and Center parties are holding advanced negotiations deciding to who and in what way to compensate for the increase of electricity prices. No agreement was reached at a meeting on the matter Tuesday evening, and negotiations will continue on Wednesday.
Center Party Jüri Ratas said that several meetings have been held to discuss compensating the current, high electricity prices. "We need to make an effort as this inflation is tough on people. We are continuing with out discussions. We don't have an agreement yet, but hope to reach one today."
Ratas said that the plan is to temporarily and quickly reduce the prices for the people who need it the most. "I think it has to be done quickly because the heating season is here," Ratas noted.
The chair of the Riigikogu's Reform Party group, MP Mart Võrklaev, said that even though the compensation may seem easy, state budget possibilities must be looked at. "For the opposition, it may seem easy; let's give money to everybody. But we know that it doesn't work out in the end. The state's pockets are not infinitely deep," Võrklaev said.
"We'll have more information in the evening, but I can't promise anything," Võrklaev added, in relation to a potential agreement.
Head of Center's faction Jaanus Karilaid said that in addition to himself Ratas and Võrklaev, the prime minister, Kaja Kallas (Reform), public administration minister (effectively minister for the regions) Jaak Aab (Center), and finance minister Keit Pentus-Rosimannus (Reform) were due at the meeting.
The issue can also be seen in the light of differing fundamental approaches to the economy the two coalition partners exhibit. Reform has long been associated with austerity and has renewed efforts in pressing for the same since the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic (when it was still in opposition), while Center is associated more with borrowing-to-spend, broadly-speaking. Center was in office with Isamaa and EKRE until January, while state finances under that tri-partite coalition's tutelage have come in for criticism from Reform both before and after entering office.
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Editor: Roberta Vaino, Andrew Whyte