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New think tank serving interests of its members, says EKRE leader

EKRE leader Mart Helme.
EKRE leader Mart Helme. Source: ERR

Estonian Conservative People's Party (EKRE) leader Mart Helme has questioned the motives of the newly-formed 'Foundation for State Reform' think tank.

''I'm sceptical about this oranization's purported altruism,'' said Helme speaking to ERR.

''The private sector getting involved in the running of the state for instance. Isn't there a likelihood that the business people who make up the foundation might take advantage of the access to the state budget and direct it towards their own interests?'' he continued.

''I also have strong suspicions that the wider business community as a whole could leverage the very existence of this group in order to implement such developments,'' said Mr. Helme.

The EKRE leader noted that his doubts were not without good reason when looking at some of the figures making up the new foundation.

''Olari Taal, for instance, has been a member of the Estonian parliament (Riigikogu) and as such has played a role in the development of the system as it currently exists, and now we're asked to believe he suddenly realises there's something wrong with that system,'' he went on.

Mr. Helme also pointed out that the 'Foundation for State Reform' isn't really saying anything new, since EKRE itself had already made very similar proposals in the run up to the 2015 Riigikogu elections, as clearly set out in the party's manifesto.

These include a place for the use of referenda in clarifying and asserting the will of the populace and to regain public initiative.

On the issue of the number of Riigikogu members, which the new group proposes be reduced by as many as 20, Helme was even less impressed.

''Restricting the number of MPs may well appeal to people, but it is little more than window-dressing,'' he explained.

''What matters more is a reduction of bureaucracy and costs in running the state. We are still moving very much in the direction of bureaucracy and regulation derived from the European Commission and which serves the interests of large corporations,'' he averred.

Editor: Andrew Whyte

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