Indrek Saar: Government to blame for energy crisis effects ballooning

Indrek Saar at the Riigikogu.
Indrek Saar at the Riigikogu. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Chairman of the Social Democratic Party (SDE) Indrek Saar said at a party council meeting on Sunday that the government has added to the energy crisis by proving unable to solve it.

Saar said in his speech that the government of the Reform Party and Center Party is unable to manage the crisis.

"Kaja Kallas and Jüri Ratas are not to blame for the energy crisis, while they are responsible for its aftermath spiraling out of control. The government exists to manage crises, help its citizens and alleviate tensions. One is left with the impression that one of the parties is unable and the other unwilling to realize its responsibility. The number of people who have lost patience for the government continues to grow. Whereas many of them take issue not just with the government but the entire state because they feel they have been left to their own devices. This will lead some to grab torches and take to the streets. All of this during a time when the region has a deepening security crisis next to the lingering healthcare one," Saar said.

The SDE leader went on to say that while the PM is right in pointing out that the international security situation becoming more strained and Russia's growing aggression are acute threats for Estonia, the country cannot afford to ignore people's difficulties in coping in the era of hybrid threats.

"For most people, it is not about an ideological debate that pits the free market against redistribution. It is about answering the very real question of how to make it to the next payday, of whether my children will catch a cold if the interior temperature is 14 degrees or how to service loans and interest piling up. There is no greater gift the Estonian government can make its foreign adversary than allowing social tension and alienation to grow out of hand," Saar remarked.

Saar presented the Social Democrats' energy expenses compensation solution modeled on the Norwegian system. "The Norwegian approach is fast, dignified and effective. All the things Estonia's hastily stitched-together scheme is not. Because the government's steam is spent mainly on bickering and not improving the scheme, we will present our own bill to the Riigikogu tomorrow. Our proposal, which we have dubbed the North Star, does not require people to apply for anything and would see the state automatically compensate households for 80 percent of insensibly high power, gas or district heating bills," the SDE chairman said.

"If your December heating bill was €300 compared to €100 a year ago, you would only have to pay €40 extra compared to the previous year, not €200, for a total of €140 instead of €300. The energy company would be paid the rest direct from the state budget. This would turn a bill of €600 into a bill of €280. The cost of heating a home of up to 100 square meters can be kept sensible in this way. People who have a larger and more luxurious abode would have to cover the price advance themselves. The state has the resources, more so as soaring energy bills will yields tens of millions of euros in additional tax revenue, not to mention [national energy company] Eesti Energia profits," Saar explained.

He also urged the party council to launch cooperation with the Estonian Greens.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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