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Coalition negotiations to continue through Wednesday

Coalition party chairmen Jevgeni Ossinovski (SDE), Jüri Ratas (Center), Helir-Valdor Seeder (IRL).
Coalition party chairmen Jevgeni Ossinovski (SDE), Jüri Ratas (Center), Helir-Valdor Seeder (IRL). Source: (ERR)

Coalition party leaders Jüri Ratas (Center), Jevgeni Ossinovski (SDE) and Helir-Valdor Seeder (IRL) announced at a press conference on Sunday that the planned deposit tax will be canceled and that negotiations over other taxes will continue.

Prime Minister Jüri Ratas announced at the press conference that the government coalition had reached a consensus regarding the planned deposit tax.

"There will be no deposit tax," he confirmed.

According to Ossinovski, the mood of the negotiations has been constructive and positive. "We are continuing negotations and will surely reach agreements in the near future as well," he said. "In a situation in which the budget strategy was agreed upon less than a month ago, further review of the revenue side means rather serious reviews. We aren't doing this on a maybe, but rather taking full responsibility together with specialists from the Ministry of Finance."

A consensus was not yet reached regarding all four taxes up for debate on Sunday.

"We have not conclusively agreed upon anything, as full calculations are not yet on the table," explained Seeder, who had called for the negotiations.

According to the recently-elected IRL chairman, unions have been against nixing a planned wage increase in the public sector based on incomplete information. "There is no point in the media spreading information it has received by chance," Seeder commented. "When things have been agreed upon, then we will certainly announce it."

Ratas confirmed that negotiations would continue. "The goal is to find a complete solution for taxes which we are canceling," he said.

Asked whether he has considered stepping down as prime minister following a number of scandals recently connected to the government coalition, Ratas answered in the negative, adding that he has in recent weeks felt how the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) and the Reform Party have gotten closer to one another.

IRL's leadership is scheduled to convene on Monday, which is why the coalition did not yet discuss issues related to IRL ministers, as the party itself must first discuss the matters internally. Nonetheless, Seeder confirmed that these were not on the leadership's agenda for Monday and would not be added to it either.

Ratas: Consensus to be reached by Wednesday

Coalition negotiations regarding the remaining tax-related issues will continue through Wednesday.

Following their Sunday meeting, Ratas said that the coalition continues to seek opportunities to make changes to joint tax declarations and the deposit tax as well as the sugar tax on sweetened beverages.

"It is clear that there are certain topics which the current coalition will not change, whether that is the teachers' wage hike or the tax-free minimum increase for low- or middle-income earners to €500 next month," he explained, adding, however, that the goal is to find common ground and to do so by midweek.

"Work on the content is ongoing, as is seeking sources of funding," Ratas said. "We are indeed proceeding on the basis of the fact that we do not want to impose new taxes and if we cancel anything today, then we will review these opportunities so that the budget remains balanced."

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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