Kallas: Minimum wage and 'tax hump' debates not a source of tension

Kristina Kallas.
Kristina Kallas. Source: Siim Lõvi/Priit Mürk/ERR

Eesti 200 deputy head Kristina Kallas said that recent debates concerning hiking the minimum wage and abolishing Estonia's gradual basic exemption system are not a source of tension and constitute a done deal.

Friction in the incoming coalition became evident when Social Democratic Party (SDE) leader Lauri Läänemets said earlier in the week that his party cannot back the Reform Party's main election promise of abolishing Estonia's so-called tax hump if the Social Democrats' plan of hiking the minimum wage fails to materialize.

Incoming PM, Reform head Kaja Kallas responded the next day by describing Läänemets' statement as a "bad surprise," suggesting that Reform delivered the unions from SDE that wanted to remove them from minimum salary negotiations.

Eesti 200 board member Margus Tsahkna said on the "Esimene stuudio" political talk show on Thursday that should SDE leave the coalition for some reason, the party's general assembly has authorized it to continue in a two-way coalition with Reform that would have 51 seats in the Riigikogu. (The Riigikogu has 101 members.)

ERR asked Kristina Kallas whether the Reform Party has teamed up with Eesti 200 to put out SDE.

"I would not say anyone is being put out. The government hasn't started yet. While I gather that the lines of force seem to be taking shape in the media, nothing has happened on the level of the coalition. We have not held a single government sitting [yet] nor any debates. I think that it is not what the media is making it out to be," Kallas suggested.

"The things being painted as disputes have all been hashed out during coalition talks, and very thoroughly at that. We've been over the minimum wage and the "tax hump," with the resulting compromise reflected in the coalition agreement," Kallas added.

Asked whether that compromise could be a smoldering source of tension, Kallas said she doesn't think so.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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