Kallas 'quite optimistic' after first coalition negotiation meeting

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Kaja Kallas.
Kaja Kallas. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) said she is "quite optimistic" that a coalition agreement can be reached with the Social Democratic Party (SDE) and Eesti 200 after their first meeting on Wednesday.

"I was very happy with the first day, the feeling in the room was very very good," she told a press conference on Wednesday evening alongside Lauri Hussar (Eesti 200) and Lauri Läänemets (SDE).

All three party chairmen emphasized that "common ground" exists between them, with Hussar saying it was a "surprising amount".

Kallas did not give a timeframe for discussions but said it "will take as long as it takes".

She said there is no great rush as the election results have yet to be finalized. This is due to EKRE challenging the e-voting results.

"The clock will start clicking when the election results are declared," the prime minister said. 

But she said holding in-depth discussions now will make governing together easier in the long run.

Kallas wants the coalition to stay in office for four years, which would be unusual as Estonia's coalitions usually collapse after approximately 18 months.

"The common desire of all of us is to form a government for four years. That's why the negotiations will take time," she said.

Taxes and budget will be discussed at the end

Taxes and the state budget will be discussed at the end of negotiations so they can be planned alongside the Ministry of Finance's spring economic forecast, Kallas said.

The prime minister told journalists the plan is to balance Estonia's budget within the next four years.

Hussar said Eesti 200's priorities are green energy reform, education and digital governance.

Läänemets said reforms do not necessarily mean budget cuts. He pushed back on Minister of Finance Annely Akkemann's (Reform) comments that €1 billion needs to be saved.

"The exact amount will be revealed during the discussions, but it is not possible to simply cut a billion from the budget," Läänemets said.

Discussions will continue in the coming days. The parties talked about the negotiations' general principles and technical details on Wednesday. 

A coalition between Reform, SDE and Eesti 200 would have 60 seats, a decent majority in the 101-seat Riigikogu.

At the election, six parties won seats. EKRE, Center and Isamaa are currently excluded from negotiations.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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