Pevkur: Estonia's success story is going down the drain

Hanno Pevkur at the Reform Party's congress on June 11, 2017.
Hanno Pevkur at the Reform Party's congress on June 11, 2017. Source: (Reformierakond)

At the Reform Party's congress on Sunday chairman Hanno Pevkur criticized the government's work and warned that Estonia's success story was about to go down the drain. The congress adopted the party's statutes, introduced its slogans and materials for the coming local elections in autumn, and discussed Reform's future plans and ambitions.

In his speech, Pevkur said that the Estonian state was “falling apart”, and its tax system dismantled that so far had been easy to understand. “Does the current leftist government even consider the effects of its aimless messing with taxes?”, Pevkur asked, and found that no, apparently not. “There have been too many stupidities over the last half year,” he added.

Pevkur listed actions the government has taken that the Reform Party isn't happy with, and called the “silence” of his own former partners in the previous coalition led by Taavi Rõivas “perplexing”.

“If and how strong IRL and the Social Democrats are going to continue in Estonian politics isn't even all that important, but it is certainly tragic for Estonia how a certain part of our success story so far—a balanced budget, a reasonable tax system, and pioneering e-solutions—is going down the drain after less than a year,” Pevkur said.

The Reform Party has recently been accused of playing to ethnic divisions in the Estonian population to further its politics, for example with its Tallinn section calling for Estonian-language instruction across all of the education system, and its call for Prime Minister Jüri Ratas' resignation after his former minister of public administration, Mihhail Korb's comment that he wasn't in favor of Estonia's NATO membership.

According to Pevkur, the Reform Party isn't stoking up ethnic conflict, but underlining the difference between the Center Party's political culture and Reform's values. Quite on the contrary, it was the Center Party that aimed to cut off Russian voters from the rest of the country.

“How much has the Center Party invested in Estonian-language instruction while it has been running Tallinn? It has certainly invested thousands of euros buying stories from PBK (Perviy baltiski kanal, Channel One Russia's Baltic program; ed.), for example. This way the Center Party is deliberately cutting off part of the people from objective information. Creating delusions and making people paranoid means are getting a closed-off community within our own,” Pevkur said.

He also spoke out against the current limit imposed on immigration, as it negatively affected the economy. “If the limit on the number of immigrants hinders the development of the economy, then it needs to be dropped and the necessary criteria put in place the employee needs to meet who comes here to work,” Pevkur said.

The economic environment needed to be stable and clear, and limits to it minimal, he added. Because of this, limits for immigrants hired by local companies needed to be reduced to a minimum.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

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