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Reform Party has started updating its 20-year-old policy platform

Reform Party pre-election campaign image.
Reform Party pre-election campaign image. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

The head of the coalition Reform Party's platform committee says there will be no major changes to the party's core values, ahead of an update to Reform's program.

The overhaul will be the first for nearly 20 years, and is being carried out to coincide with the Reform Party's 30th birthday, in the fall.

The current Reform platform was adopted at the 2005 party congress.

Reform MP Õnne Pillak, who chairs the renewal committee, told ERR that: "20 years is a very long time. Just as with an individual. If a person is, for example, one year old compared with a person who is 20 years old, well there is a major difference there. For this reason, we are renewing the policy platform."

Reform turns 30 on November 13 this year, and Pillak noted that the revised program is to be ready by then.

"We are reviewing all the chapters. We have a lengthy history as a party, and we have basic core values ​​which we have always stood for, so we certainly will not be amending these massively," Pillak said.

Pillak listed these core values as: "Personal freedoms, freedom of enterprise, an ordered economy, security."

"However, we are also reviewing the political chapters to modernize them and to look to the future," Pillak continued.

The environment and climate policy are those areas which will receive more coverage in the new program, compared with the current one, Pillak said.

Pillak also noted that whereas back in 2005 Estonian joining the EU and NATO were recent developments – the country joined both in the preceding year – these do not constitute goals any more, among those areas which will be amended in the existing policy program.

Reform MP and party board member Maris Lauri said that last Friday's strategy day had also covered the issue.

"The question was whether it needs a cardinal change, and the general understanding was that there is no need to change much in the basic values," Lauri said, adding that whether there should be a "thinner" or "thicker" state has at times forced the party to make compromises in terms of its program.

Overall, Reform has not retreated from its core value of cutting down on bureaucracy, she added.

Most other represented parties want the state to play more of a role, hikes in taxation, and a greater redistribution of wealth, Lauri noted, meaning Reform has had to make compromises with its coalition partners – currently the Social Democrats and Eesti 200 – even as it has traditionally been identified as a a pro-free market/anti-intervention party.

The Reform Party policy program renewal committee includes several former ministers – Lauri is one, Andres Sutt is another. Tartu mayor Urmas Klaas also sits on the committee.

The Reform Party has been in office at the national level for the bulk of the time since the turn of the millennium, though was out of office from November 2016 to January 2021. Tartu, Estonia's second city, is a noted Reform Party stronghold also.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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