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Tõniste: State's finances no field for experiments

Toomas Tõniste.
Toomas Tõniste. Source: (ERR/ Siim Lõvi)

Estonia's new finance minister, Toomas Tõniste (IRL), said after his party's nomination on Wednesday that he would defend the principle that the state's finances should be as stable as possible.

Tõniste said that the government's tax package was already in the Riigikogu, and that the minister of finance couldn't do much about it anymore at this point. The package, introduced in the Riigikogu by his predecessor, Sven Sester (IRL), includes the much-debated and controversial tax on sugary drinks, among other proposals.

According to Tõniste, stability is the most important aim dealing with the state's finances. “Ideally there is a stable and business friendly environment,” Tõniste said. “Where businesses feel respected. They agree to paying tax if they understand where the money is going.”

He added that the state's finances couldn't be a field for experiments, promising also to work against more bureaucracy and pointing out that the Riigikogu managed very well during the economic crisis, but that sectors now needed to be kept from getting too big that were using up money coming in from taxes businesses were paying.

The Pro Patria and Res Publica Union (IRL) supported their chairman's proposal to replace Defence Minister and former party chairman Margus Tsahkna, Minister of Finance Sven Sester, and Minister of the Environment Marko Pomerants.

Former ambassador, minister, and director of the International Centre of Defence and Security, Jüri Luik, is taking over as minister of defense. Marko Pomerants is followed by IRL's Siim Kiisler in the Ministry of the Environment.

The three candidates will now need the approval of IRL's extended leadership, after which Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center) will ask the president to nominate them as replacements for Sester, Tsahkna, and Pomerants. They will then take their oath of office in the Riigikogu. The date they take office currently still depends on the schedule of President Kersti Kaljulaid, according to an official at the Government Office.

The replacement for Minister of Public Administration Mihhail Korb (Center), Jaak Aab (Center), will likely take office in the next few days. Korb resigned after his remark that he did not support Estonia's NATO membership had caused unrest in the coalition.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

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