SALK made losses in 2022, considering expansion elsewhere in Europe

SALK Director Tarmo Jüristo.
SALK Director Tarmo Jüristo. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

While a liberal think-tank made 2022 losses of €44,318, the organization says that the year on the whole was successful, and it is even considering expansion into other European countries.

The organization, Liberal Citizen Foundation  (SALK), recently hit the headlines over its electioneering on behalf of the all-liberal coalition which entered into office in April. SALK, headed by Tarmo Jüristo expressly states that it aims to prevent the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) ever entering office at the national level again.

SALK reported that in 2022 it cooperated to various extents with all three coalition parties – Reform, Eesti 200 and the Social Democrats (SDE), last year, and ahead of the March 5 general election which was followed by that alignment entering office.

The report added that: "In the direction of the political parties, we continued to coordinate the financing of campaigns which had started during the [October] 2021 local government elections."

Given that the Riigikogu election confirmed the effectiveness of SALK's approach to influencing and backing political parties, the report went on, this has prompted the organization to consider expanding its activities to
other European countries also.

Nonetheless, SALK made a loss in 2022, with revenues around halved to €227,000 at a time when costs rose, particularly in relation to labor costs, the report states.

SALK added that: "We set ourselves the goal of supporting liberal parties and political forces in general in such a way that, as a result of the elections, the probability of coalitions emerging which contained EKRE would be as limited as possible. We can retrospectively say that that went quite well."

All elections in Estonia will also remain in focus, starting with next year's European elections, SALK went on, while given "today's liberal coalition ... will have to make a number of difficult and sometimes unpopular decisions in the coming years,"

SALK adds, the organization wants to continue to support building up "an open, liberal and forward-looking society," which would both help to prevent "political setbacks" and would ensure that the tough decisions hinted at above would not be found wanting over fears of potential setbacks.

SALK's expenses exceeded revenues by €44,318 in 2022, the report states.

€75,571 was spent on salaries, while operating expenses amounted to €86,128, the largest proportion of which came from research and development expenses (€43,500).

Donations and grants made up the largest part of total revenue in 2022, when €142,517 in donations came from 137 individuals.

Five major donors provided at least €10,000, including the Villig brothers, founders of Bolt.

SALK board members were paid €45,900 for the year.

SALK says last year it invested significantly in its data and analysis capabilities, including a transition away from survey data analysis to simulation and machine learning models – the latter activity was supported to the tune of €30,000 to create a platform based on a machine learning model.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Marko Tooming

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