Ansip: Things in Estonia moving in wrong direction

Vice-President of the European Commission Andrus Ansip.
Vice-President of the European Commission Andrus Ansip. Source: (Siim Lõvi/ERR)

Vice-President of the European Commission and former longtime Prime Minister of Estonia Andrus Ansip on Friday offered a critical judgment on the fiscal policy of the current government, saying that things in Estonia are not moving in the right direction.

"According to my deepest conviction, things are no longer okay and things are not moving in the right direction either," Ansip said at a press conference in Tallinn on Friday.

Ansip, who was chairman of the then-ruling Reform Party from 2004-2014, described the plans of Prime Minister Jüri Ratas' Center Party-led government to impose new taxes and borrow money at a time when the Estonian economy is growing and there is no financial crisis as unnecessary.

"To the ordinary person, Estonia looks good, but you can no longer say this as an investor," he said.

Ansip noted that the Ratas-led government is planning on tapping into reserves and increase taxes in a situation in which wages are growing rapidly and employment is at its highest level of all time.

"Returning to structural balance will be difficult," he said. "There's graduated-rate income tax in many places across the EU, but that it would be introduced overnight... When the economy doesn't need a stimulant, but there's a desire to ease fiscal rules — this will not go unnoticed by the EU and investors."

Eesmaaa: Ansip shouldn't meddle in domestic politics

In response to Ansip's criticism, Center Party board member Enn Eesmaa found that someone in such a high position in Europe should not meddle in Estonia's domestic politics.

According to Eesmaa, statements made by Ansip reduce foreign investors' interest in Estonia, adding that Ansip is in such a high position that he should avoid making statements concerning domestic policy as his statements might strongly influence how foreign investors perceive the country.

"Instead of scaring, a vice-president should be Estonia's ambassador to the world in a positive way, who will bring — not take away — investments and trust in Estonia," he said.

According to Eesmaa, Ansip has taken another road and is helping his party before the elections without thinking further ahead than the politics. He asserted that the state's finances are in good hands and the planned changes will benefit Estonia's residents as well as the country itself.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

Source: BNS

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