If the Center Party does completely disappear from the Estonian political landscape any time in the future, this would surely be one of the most seismic shifts to have hit domestic politics in decades, Social Democratic Party (SDE) Sven Mikser says.
At the same time, the trend is likely to be for a continued decline for an already ailing Center Party, he said.
Appearing on Sunday morning magazine show "Hommik Anuga" and talking about a wide range of topics, the MEP, also a former foreign minister and former defense minister, also bemoaned the current state of politics, society and education and the apparent disparity between words and deeds, one which almost calls to mind the Soviet era.
Commenting on the current situation with the Center Party - Mikser is a former Center member – the MEP acknowledged that, in addition to those prominent members of that opposition party who left earlier this month, on top of the departures last autumn, more are likely on the way.
"I would be highly surprised if all those currently in the Center Party remain there for the rest of their lives. There will certainly be more people leaving," Mikser said.
At the same time, one of Mikser's main concerns is how his own party – which has been the beneficiary of four of the recent six MP departures from Center – has not have had as big a say in politics as he would like.
"[We] somehow have taken on board an overly simplified understanding that the creation of wealth takes place primarily within the private sector and the consumption of wealth, while skimming off the top of wealth, as it were, takes place in the public sector," Mikser added.
"For example, the realization that we are facing a teachers' strike – that in fact the greatest added value in our economy is that created by valuing human assets, created in those sectors where people are provided education, qualifications, and the ability to actually be successful in the labor market."
"In a word, it's as though we support and believe in all this, but in practice we don't tend to implement it overly enthusiastically," Mikser continued.
Mikser drew from the example of literature – supposedly treasured in constitutional terms but not a viable means to make a living for most people.
Of this discrepancy, the MEP said: "Whereas there was once a Soviet-era anecdote, in which a man asked for the number of an opticians, as he complained that while he hears one thing all the time, he sees something completely different; well, I think that, in a sense, this also applies today."
Thus we need greater solidarity in society, in order to plough more resources into areas that have been completely left behind, or have received insufficient attention.
Mikser also expressed concern over polarization in politics in Europe and , given the upcoming elections, in the U.S., and the threat that can prove to democracy.
As for his own future plans, Mikser, who has been an MEP since the last European elections in 2019, would neither rule in or rule out running at the European elections in June, adding that this is as much more a matter for the party, as it is for him.
"I've done quite a lot, so let's say that there aren't very many challenges in Estonian politics that I would definitely like to try but that I haven't been able to do so yet."
There is still work to be done on the domestic Estonia front, he said.
"As said, never say never It is always possible to find fresh challenges, and the second aspect is, of course, that seeing how liberal democracy is under great pressure and how populism is invading from all directions, given where Estonian society is headed and where the liberal democracies of Europe and the Western world are going in general.
"About this, of course, I'm heartbroken, so if it's in my power to make some kind of contribution to make things go better, I will certainly do so," the MEP concluded.
Mikser, 50, was also SDE leader 2010-2015, and was a member of the Center Party around 20 years ago.
Editor: Andrew Whyte, Mait Ots
Source: 'Hommik Anuga,' interviewer Anu Valba.