Estonia's European Commissioner Kadri Simson has no plans to leave the Center Party in the wake of several high profile departures in recent weeks, though she is also not running in the European Parliament elections in June.
Simson's term as European commissioner, holding the energy portfolio, ends later this year. She gave a short interview to ERR which follows in its entirety.
Jüri Ratas, with whom you have been closely associated in the Center Party, announced on Monday that he was leaving that party, to join Isamaa. Was this the logical course of things for you. after Mihhail Kõlvart became party chair last September, along with what has been happening in the Center Party since then.
Jüri Ratas leaving Center is a dark day for the party. Following the change in party chair, the Center Party immediately lost its leading role in the opposition, as [new leader Mihhail] Kõlvart, who had declined his Riigikogu mandate [to remain as Tallinn mayor], was simply not visible.
Jüri embodied the hope for many members of the party that the Center Party can return to being a party influencing decisions on the political scene. He himself knows that as a former chairman he had such a role, and thus his decision is even more difficult.
How easy will thins be for Ratas in Isamaa? For example, he supports a progressive income tax system, but Isamaa has held completely differing views on that. You could probably find not just these differences of opinion, but others too.
It seems he found sufficient common ground [with Isamaa] to make a tough decision like this, for himself.
If and when will you be handing in your resignation?
This idea of leaving the party is repellent to me, since the Center Party is much more than just its current leaders. There are many people within the Center Party who I have stood alongside and for many years, for the values which are needed to unify Estonian society.
If I did get the feeling that the Center Party had been taken over by people who are not predisposed towards Estonia, then of course I will not be on the same page as them. However, observing from afar, it seems to me that in this case the cause of the mass departures is primarily poor management of the organization, plus ignorance over many important issues of state affairs.
Whereas it is viable to imagine Jüri Ratas in Isamaa, this is not so much the case with you. Certainly with climate policy in mind. Is joining Isamaa even on the table as an option for you? What about the Social Democrats?
I have not considered joining any other Estonian political party.
Are you planning to run for the European Parliament elections or not? In your case, would running on the same list with Jana Toom carry with it the same exclusionary factor as it had done for Jüri Ratas?
I'm not going to be running in the European elections.
Editor: Andrew Whyte