What the papers say: Pensions, stranded farmers, no pet cemetery for Tartu

Estonian newspapers (photo is illustrative).
Estonian newspapers (photo is illustrative). Source: Anna Aurelia Minev/ERR

On Oct. 15, the papers were full of comments about the possible second pillar pension reform after the Bank of Estonia poured cold water over the plans, stranded Estonian farmers in Japan, and a possible pet cemetery for Tartu. All links in Estonian.

Pension reform  

Daily Postimees writes in its editorial that politicians are increasingly attacking ministry officials and experts, citing Isamaa chairman Helir-Valdor Seeder criticizing the Bank of Estonia's analyze over the second pillar pension reform, one of the party's flagship policies, as the most recent example.  

The paper says maybe if the experts are criticizing policy ideas it's because the ideas are bad, and that is why there are experts who make these important decisions. But with EKRE members introducing the idea of the deep state and distrust of officials into public discourse, things can take a more sinister turn and these should be seen as a backdrop to Seeder's comments.

After the bank's negative comments Monday about pension reform, the paper says "maybe the plans are still not well thought out," and concludes the piece by writing: "In any case, criticizing the opinions and assessments of officials seems to be an increasingly depressing and lazy act..." and calls for better ideas in the future.

In its editorial, daily Eesti Päevaleht (EPL) questions both the ongoing pension and the pharmacy reforms. About pensions, the paper writes "currently, the ruling coalition has closed its eyes and ears to justified criticism," and says the pharmacy changes were designed to fail.

The editorial questions donations made to the Centre Party and asks who will really benefit from the pharmacy reforms. The one thing they both have in common, the paper writes, is that the government is not trying to make either better for the Estonian people.

Online news portal ärileht.ee reported comments made by Estonia 200 chairwoman Kristina Kallas, who said if the pension reform passes, then the government has basically signed off on a future tax increase for young people, and that there is no need to push through such a radical change so quickly.

"The only incentive which sounds at all logical is the coalition's desire to create a situation where, in 2021, people will be able to put their savings at the disposal of local governments," Kallas said. "This will definitely temporarily increase people's mood and well-being and gratitude toward coalition parties. However, this is very politically cynical behavior."

Estonian farmers stuck in Japan

Many papers carried the story about Estonian farmers stuck in Japan and unable to fly home after the deadly Typhoon Hagibis caused all flights leaving from the islands to be canceled.

Maaleht reported Tartu Farmers' Union chairman Jaan Sõrra saying: "The flights were canceled. As there was no hotel at the airport, we had to drive 50 kilometers back to Tokyo. We ordered a separate bus for this. The city couldn't help us. We also had to pay for the hotels and food ourselves. For sixteen people, the cost of living and lodging is €4,200, plus €5,000 for the bus."

The farmers had been on a 10-day trip to get acquainted with Japanese agriculture.

Tartu pet cemetery plans scrapped 

Regional paper Tartu Postimees writes that despite demands for a pet cemetery to be established in Tartu, the city government said they do not have the funds to do so. However, they are welcoming private investors to step forward if they are interested. Madis Tammeorg, chief specialist for the city government's department of urban economics, landscaping and cleaning service, said the budget needed to be spent on fixing problems and isn't bottomless. However, Tartu pet owners who live in apartment blocks say they want somewhere nice to bury their pets.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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