In a public response to Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) chairman Mart Helme, Pro Patria chairman Helir-Valdor Seeder rejected the opposition party leader's proposal to tie the junior coalition party's support for the 2019 state budget bill to a government decision not to support joining the UN Global Compact for Migration.
"I am glad that EKRE supports Pro Patria's positions and its opposition to the migration pact, but we do not see the opportunity for the dangers contained within the migration pact to be prevented if Pro Patria were to leave the government," Seeder said in his response to Helme on Tuesday.
"Your call to pull the emergency brake on the government is belated and reminds me of trying to break in through an open door, because Pro Patria pulled the emergency brake several weeks ago already when we barred the adoption of a decision approving the migration pact in the government," the coalition party chairman continued. "It was specifically due to the unanimous opposition of the Pro Patria group and ministers that the Estonian government did not support the migration pact."
It is likewise due to opposition from Pro Patria that the government has not authorised the Minister of Foreign Affairs to represent Estonia at the approval of the pact, he added.
"Pro Patria leaving the government, as you recommend we do, would mean that there is no one left in the government who stands against the migration package," Seeder stressed. "And then the Centre Party and the Social Democrats would be getting their way, just like they got their way in the Riigikogu, where the opposition did not have enough votes even with Pro Patria to vote down support for the migration pact."
Earlier this autumn, the matter of joining the UN Global Compact for Migration jeopardised the stability of the Estonian government after Pro Patria, one of the government coalition's two junior members, declared that it was against Estonia becoming a party to the compact. Due to the lack of unanimity on the subject, the government referred the matter to the Riigikogu, which on 26 November voted in favour of a resolution supporting the adoption of the migration compact.
Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre), chairman of the Centre Party, has previously stated that the government will not reopen the matter. Minister of Foreign Affairs Sven Mikser (SDE), meanwhile, has said that Estonia will express its support of the compact at a vote to be held at the UN General Assembly in New York next Wednesday, 19 December.
The 2019 state budget bill passed its second reading in the Riigikogu on 21 November.
Editor: Aili Vahtla