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Taavi Veskimägi: Parliamentary salaries not attracting the best

Taavi Veskimägi (right) speaking to ERR's Indrek Kiisler.
Taavi Veskimägi (right) speaking to ERR's Indrek Kiisler. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Riigikogu salaries are uncompetitive, meaning the best are not always attracted, particularly in specialised areas, says former minister Taavi Veskimägi (Pro Patria).

Speaking on ERR 's ''Live from the News Building'' (Otse Uudistemajast) Mr. Veskimägi, CEO of power transmission operator Elering, said the situation concerns him, particularly after the 2019 election.

''Each year, or following each election cycle, there seems to have been a deterioration in competencies,'' Mr. Veskimägi told Indrek Kiisler.

Leaders and specialists need to work together

Leadership needs strengthening, he argued. ''Generalists'' are needed, but there isn't the direction to allow top leaders and specialists to work in concert in various fields.

To attain this, he said, professional politicians are needed.

"First and foremost people go to work to make a living. Politicians shouldn't be an afterthought; they have bills to pay too. In my view, if we want to have better younger people coming into politics, naturally pay levels must be different,'' he noted, given the attractions of the private sector.

Best going elsewhere

"Political parties don't seem to be attracting competence.  Where are the good finance experts, or environmental experts for instance?''

''Inevitably, the best aren't coming into politics, but it is possible to attract people who know everything about everything, as opposed to nothing about anything,'' he said.

Former finance minister Taavi Veskimägi, 43, has worked at Elering for 10 years.

Speaker of the house Eiki Nestor (SDE) recently stated that due to changes in the law during the 2008-2010 economic crisis, MPs are today paid €1,600 per month less than their due.

The original clip (in Estonian) is here.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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