Coalition negotiators discuss cuts and spending

The coalition negotiators from Reform, Eesti 200 and SDE started to discuss financial issues, such as cuts and spending, on Tuesday, Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) said. Discussions about same-sex marriage are still to come.

"For two days, we have been receiving various updates on the state of public finances, with new forecasts coming out all the time," Kallas said at the press conference after a day of discussions.

Negotiators were given an overview of the financial situation and the latest forecast.

Kallas said the situation is more difficult than previously expected and tough decisions will need to be made.

At the start of negotiations, the prime minister said money-related issues will be among the last discussed, which means the finish line should be coming into sight. However, things could still fall apart.

Kallas said: "This is the phase of coalition negotiations where you have to say nothing is agreed until everything is agreed."

Eesti 200 Chairman Lauri Hussar said the current financial situation can be blamed on previous governments,

"Between 2018 and 2021, the approach to public finances has been creative, to say the least. To a large extent, this has meant that the budget deficit is significant and that we need to find solutions to reduce it," he said.

The Center Party was the lead coalition partner between 2018-2021, first with partners Isamaa and SDE and then Isamaa and EKRE (2019-2021), all three parties are now likely to stay in opposition.

Kallas said decisions related to cuts need to be made in the next two months in time for the next budget. She said there is an agreement between parties that this will happen.

The parties also discussed local elementary schools and their financial needs. No agreement was reached.

Marriage equality debate still to come

Another topic pushed until the end of negotiations, is same-sex marriage. Kallas said the issue was briefly discussed and will be raised again at a later date.

Reform believes the Registered Partnership Act's implementation acts should be passed, but it is less certain about legalizing same-sex marriage.

The prime minister also said a law on same-sex marriage would not pass in the Riigikogu and that there is still a lot of opposition within society.

Hussar and SDE's chairman Lauri Läänemets both said their parties have mandates to support marriage equality.


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Editor: Barbara Oja, Helen Wright

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