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Läänemets: Coalition partners have very different visions of the future

Lauri Läänemets, Mart Võrklaev and Margus Tsahkna
Lauri Läänemets, Mart Võrklaev and Margus Tsahkna Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Coalition members of Reform, SDE, and Eesti 200 met on Tuesday to discuss how to fill the €400 million hole in the budget strategy. Views differ greatly, said SDE Chairman Lauri Läänemets.

After the meeting at Stenbock House, Läänemets said the discussion focused on the general rather than specifics.

"I can't say that we have gone into any solutions today. Rather, we saw where we could go further – cutting red tape, making people, including businesses, pay taxes better. In order to look at how and in what direction to go in general, we did, for example, one working group and a couple of other working groups," the minister of the interior told ERR.

The discussion showed the parties have very different visions of how to proceed, he said.  

"Minister of Finance Mart Võrklaev (Reform) presented the Reform Party's proposals. I have to say that a good job was done. It is commendable in that respect, but that does not mean that there were proposals that we believe can be taken forward in this form. Rather, let us take note of the ideas and general orientations of the Reform Party and the general orientations of the Social Democrats. We are now going to go to the party leadership and discuss what direction to go in and then it will be possible to start talking about concrete things among ourselves," Läänemets said.  

Võrklaev: Proposals will be shared with the public in future

Võrklaev said during the meeting he made a presentation about the possible options that could be discussed. 

"The coalition partners also spoke about their proposals and we agreed on the next steps, everyone will take some time to reflect and then the work and discussions will continue," he said.

When prompted by ERR, that the minister had previously said the proposals would be made public, he said extra time is needed.

"I can't present them until we have reached a common consensus in government on what we will go forward with and what we will not. This is the result of our discussion today and I cannot break that agreement. And this is the basis on which we will proceed," Võrklaev said.

"Possible solutions coalition partners offered both savings and various tax reforms," he said but refused to expand on the subject.

"I am sure we will be able to discuss all these issues openly, at length and quite loudly. If there is a consensus on things in the government, then we will come out with them, then we can discuss them, debate them both in the government and in the parliament so that nobody misses any debate or discussion," Võrklaev said.

Tsahkna: Eesti 200 is prepared to take a loan

Eesti 200 Chairman Margus Tsahkna said: "We looked at the broader picture than this €430 million, we looked at the fiscal position where the hole is much bigger."

The foreign minister added: "When I talk about a deficit in the national budget, I am ready to take a loan to invest in IT development. I am willing to discuss different solutions to give businesses certainty about Estonia's future tax environment."

The state budget strategy is not a dogmatic paper, it is politically open, Tsahkna told ERR when asked if balancing the budget is the most important part of the strategy.

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Editor: Marko Tooming, Mari Peegel, Madis Hindre, Helen Wright

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