Centre, Isamaa, EKRE reach agreement on sports, culture, youth work

Party chairmen Mart Helme (EKRE), Jüri Ratas (Centre) and Helir-Valdor Seeder (Isamaa) on Thursday. 14 March 2019.
Party chairmen Mart Helme (EKRE), Jüri Ratas (Centre) and Helir-Valdor Seeder (Isamaa) on Thursday. 14 March 2019. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

The Centre Party, the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) and Isamaa on Thursday evening reached an agreement during coalition talks regarding sports, culture and youth work-related issues.

The three parties are of the opinion that sports for all young people as well as top-level sports need to be further supported, the availability of extracurricular education ensured and Estonia's national culture advanced both at home and abroad.

Centre Party chairman Jüri Ratas described the discussion regarding sports, culture and youth work as very extensive, and said that the three parties had several ideas regarding the fields in question, spokespeople for the Centre Party said on Thursday.

The potential coalition wants to extend more support than before to the Team Estonia programme of the Estonian Olympic Committee (EOK), which seeks to improve the degree of Estonia's top-level sports and will ensure necessary support services for Estonian athletes.

"We also have to pay more attention to improving the day-to-day exercise habits of children and young people," Mr Ratas continued. "To do so, we will continue, among other things, with basic training in swimming, and want to set up, in collaboration with municipalities, multifunctional sporting areas, including indoor football halls."

Isamaa chairman Helir-Valdor Seeder noted that, as is fitting on Native Language Day, the three parties discussed at length the preservation and development of the Estonian language, as well as the presentation of Estonia's national culture both at home and abroad.

"Estonia has a lot to offer, and we want our national culture to be presented more extensively in other countries as well," Mr Seeder said. "For this, we want to involve the community of Estonians living in other countries as much as possible."

According to the Isamaa chairman, it was agreed, among other things, that the renovation of historic and cultural objects of national importance should be sped up and that heritage conservation requirements should be updated.

Youth work emphasised

EKRE chairman Mart Helme said that when it comes to youth work, an emphasis must be placed on patriotic education and equipping young people with practical skills. He cited the Young Eagles (Noorkotkad) and Home Daughters (Kodutütred), the youth arms of the volunteer Estonian Defence League (Kaitseliit) as examples of such organisations.

The three parties arrived at the agreement that support has to be given to youth organisations providing patriotic education and that opportunities must be expanded for children to attend summer camps and work-and-leisure camps.

They also agreed about increasing the role of youth councils and youth associations in society, and cited as important the greater inclusion of young people in governance. The three parties further agreed regarding the need to support opportunities for young people with disabilities to participate in extracurricular activities, the activities of youth centres as well as other activities aimed at young people.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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