President Kersti Kaljulaid appointed Jaak Aab (Center) Estonia's new minister of public administration on Thursday. Aab replaces his party colleague, Mihhail Korb, who resigned after a remark that he didn't support Estonian NATO membership caused unrest in the coalition.
Aab stressed that he considered it to be his task to work towards strong local governments everywhere in the country, saying that the office of minister of public administration was doubtlessly a very busy one now that the Administrative Reform Act was being implemented.
The Center Party had always stood for an equally good life for everyone in Estonia, no matter where, Aab said. “Over the years life in rural areas and in smaller towns has died away, people have left for the capital or moved abroad. This process needs to be stopped, and if possible reversed,” he added.
The efforts to move part of the state's administration away from Tallinn needed to continue, Aab said. The government's planned investment in roads, broadband access, and regional programs would help creating an even living quality across Estonia.
Aab also supports the investment program announced by the coalition for Ida-Viru County. Most recently his predecessor called for €20 million in annual investments over the next ten years, with the funds coming out of environmental fees paid by the local oil shale processing industry.
The state's plan to abolish the county governments and reallocate their tasks to local municipalities as well as state authorities would also be a demanding job, the new minister added. All in all, the field of work facing him was certainly broad, Aab said. “The aim can only be to have more Estonia outside Harju County, so to say. Mihhail Korb worked towards that aim, and so will I,” Aab stressed.
Aab will be sworn in in the Riigikogu on Monday.
Editor: Dario Cavegn