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Mass layoffs of state officials would cause problems, says Kallas

Reform Party chairwoman Kaja Kallas.
Reform Party chairwoman Kaja Kallas. Source: Sander Koit/ERR

According to Reform Party chairwoman Kaja Kallas, mass layoffs of state officials is a popular slogan, but its implementation could lead to a whole host of problems.

"What needs to be considered with regard to all state officials is what is being done, whether it is necessary, and who is the consumer of the service," Kallas told ERR in response to the proposals of businessmen involved in the foundation of a new think tank for state reform. "If we're talking about laying off officials, this is very good as a slogan, but on the other hand, we have to address sensitive topics."

Among these topics, she found, are matters including Estonia's defense capability, education and medicine.

"The question is whether and how it would be possible to increase the state's efficiency," Kallas continued. "We saw how the closure of Southern Estonian maternity wards drew a great deal of resentment. These are sensitive fields. We do need to consider how to increase the state's efficiency, however we won't achieve the state's responsibilities remaining the same as they are now by reducing [the number of] officials."

She did, however, welcome citizens reflecting on how the Estonian state should function. "This demonstrates that we feel that Estonia, this is us, and we ourselves must take positions and shape visions," Kallas said. "This is very positive. We have substantive proposals on the table. I believe that political parties will pick up these ideas and want to bring these to life, but we are still a parliamentary state, and a mandate from the people is necessary for their implementation."

Regarding the proposal to decrease the number of MPs in the Riigikogu, Kallas noted that it has previously been said that a smaller Riigikogu would mean an increased risk of corruption. "And if we reduce the number of MPs, then an MP should have at least one assistant to help make this work more meaningful," she added. "This topic can certainly be discussed and we can consider what the optimal solution would be."

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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