Gräzin planning to represent Estonian eurosceptics in Brussels

Igor Gräzin.
Igor Gräzin. Source: (Eesti Meedia/Scanpix)

Igor Gräzin (Reform), about to replace Reform Party chairwoman Kaja Kallas in the European Parliament, still hadn't made it clear which of the parliament's groups he intends to join, though he is saying that he will represent "Estonia's eurosceptics".

"The eurosceptics are really the silent majority, and they don't have a vocal representative. And by the way, they're not just some morons," Gräzin told ERR on Thursday, stressing that he "doesn't exclude the possibility" that he might still join the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE), the European party of his predecessor and fellow Reform Party member.

Gräzin is taking over Kallas' mandate in early September this year.

Joining ALDE would be difficult for him to do for several reasons, Gräzin said, but he still might do it: "If it should turn out that they're all good people, then I don't exclude the possibility, and it would also be the most comfortable thing for me to just go ahead and do it."

Though Gräzin made it clear earlier this year that he doesn't hold ALDE's members in very high esteem, now he is saying that "maybe things aren't as bad as they look."

Gräzin has a history with ALDE. He was elected the deputy chairman of the Europeans United for Democracy (EUD) party, which opposed the establishment of ALDE. The party was present in the European Parliament with just six mandates, and since 2009 hasn't played a role on the European stage.

At the time, Gräzin fought against the impending establishment of ALDE as a much larger union of different centrist parties in Europe, specifically because their course was too centrist for his and fellow eurosceptics' taste.

As he points out, nominally he still is the EUD's deputy chairman, as "nobody ever removed me from that position."

Disgruntled with ALDE since party failed to elect Siim Kallas chairman

Gräzin's grudge goes back to 2015, when ALDE didn't elect Siim Kallas chairman. He also takes issue with the group's later decision to support measures against Hungary and Poland's conservative governments.

"In any case, I'll push a eurosceptical agenda, because mistakes were made in the European Union that need to be discussed. Europe and the European Union aren't one and the same," Gräzin told ERR.

Of Estonia's currently six members of the European Parliament, two more are part of ALDE's group, namely Gräzin's Reform Party fellow, Urmas Past, and the Centre Party's Yana Toom.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

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