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To solve government crisis, let Riigikogu decide on UN compact, says SDE

MPs in the Session Hall of the Riigikogu.
MPs in the Session Hall of the Riigikogu. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

The coalition Social Democratic Party (SDE) is proposing that the Riigikogu should decide whether or not Estonia joins the controversial UN Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. SDE chairman Jevgeni Ossinovski also hinted that the party may walk back its demand that Minister of Justice Urmas Reinsalu (Pro Patria) resign.

Speaking on Vikerraadio's morning programme, Ossinovski said that the SDE's suggested solution to the current government crisis is for the Riigikogu to discuss and decide on Estonia's participation in the migration framework, with the Riigikogu's decision becoming a binding guideline for the government.

"Our proposal is that if the government is unable to resolve the situation that has arisen, then we have the Riigikogu," he said. "This is why the Social Democrats propose discussing this on the Riigikogu level and for the parliament to make a decision. Should the Riigikogu adopt the position that Estonia supports participation in the international migration coalition, then that is an instruction for the government."

In this scenario, everyone would have an opportunity to have their say, including the opposition Reform Party, which has been of a duplicitous position. "The text of the bill is currently being coordinated with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but I hope that the document is completed on Monday already and we are able to resolve this issue operationally," the SDE chairman added.

Ossinovski also hinted that the opposition Reform Party will play a key role in resolving the situation that has arisen.

"The Reform Party has demanded that the government must join the migration framework, but if they say in the Riigikogu now that they don't understand what this document is, then a situation may very much be possible in which a solution cannot be reached in the Riigikogu either," he explained. "But I hope that the Reform Party is being led by Kaja Kallas and not someone else."

SDE: Pro Patria reversed course

Asked why the Social Democrats are only just now taking the issue to the Riigkogu and did not do so sooner, Ossinovski replied that prior to the current government crisis, since this spring, the government had maintained a common position on the matter, which Pro Patria now changed with its own reversal. He added that the current stalemate is also the result of the minority dictating foreign policy to the majority.

"Over the past 27 years, we have sought a consensus on foreign policy, and that is a reasonable endeavour," Ossinovski said. "Yes, that isn't possible on all matters, and in recent years this tendency has also worsened. But it is not acceptable that the minority dictates foreign policy. Where the foaming of the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) in rhetoric is joined by Pro Patria. They account for 20% of the Riigikogu, ie a minority."

Ossinovski also hinted that the Social Democrats may abandon their demand that Minister of Justice Urmas Reinsalu (Pro Patria) be dismissed from his position.

"For us it is a distinct merit that we are capable of agreeing on the restoration of a common foreign policy," he said. "Urmas Reinsalu is not a distinct merit for us."


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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