EKRE MP: Kindergarten bill would not have achieved what it set out to

Helle-Moonika Helme.
Helle-Moonika Helme. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

The Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) initiated a proposal which struck off a bill reforming the kindergarten system on the grounds that it did not do what it had set out to do, ie render kindergarten education into Estonian-only, nationwide, an MP from the party, Hele-Moonika Helme, says.

The bill would also, had it passed, have placed to large of a burden on local government in its implication, Helme added.

That the provisions of the bill would not in fact have made kindergarten education in Estonian-only, Helme said, but rather 50 percent – in some cases – was the main sticking point for her party, she said.

"In other words, a kindergarten would no longer 100 be percent Estonian-speaking, as should be the case," she said.

A full switch to Estonian-only is needed, she said.

The bill itself was also presented in an opaque way, Helme added.

"We had been long awaiting this law. But when the point came that it reached the [Riigikogu] culture committee, we were only given an hour to read it through, nd we had so many questions," she continued.

"We also we not receive answers in the committee on how the local government could ensure everything the law requires of them," she added, citing a shortage of support professionals and teacher.

"The role of the legislator is to do things in a way that is completely unambiguous."

Finally, EKRE was also sceptical of the reliability of ministry officials in making the agreed changes to the draft between its first and second reading.

The bill was a fresh piece of legislation rather than an amendment to an existing law, and had reportedly been agreed upon between Center and Reform, the two coalition partners, but in the event Center voted in favor of an EKRE proposal to strike the bill from Riigikogu business at its first reading; a motion which passed.

Center and Reform have already been at loggerheads about another piece of legislation currently foundering in the Riigikogu, one which would increase family support benefits, prompting speculation of an imminent coalition collapse from some quarters. Health minister Tanel Kiik said earlier on Thursday that no discussions focused on a new coalition alignment had been taking place, however, and EKRE's leader Martin Helme himself said earlier in the week he did not think a collapse would occur in the near future.

The Riigikogu breaks up for its summer recess two weeks' today, June 16.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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