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At today's sitting, the candidate for Prime Minister Kaja Kallas made a speech to the Riigikogu and asked for MPs’ support to form a Government. Due to the end of the working hours of the sitting, the replying to the questions of members of the Riigikogu and the deciding on the authorisation will continue at tomorrow’s sitting.

In her speech, Kallas pointed out that the Reform Party, Estonia 200, and Social Democrats had prepared a coalition agreement that contained their vision on the most important and the challenges facing Estonia. The candidate for Prime Minister added that the agreement was a compromise and a result of a search for a common ground. “The greatest common ground of the coalition is based on Estonia’s independence, sound public finances, our economic success, and value issues,” Kallas said.

The candidate for Prime Minister pointed out that the document had the face of the war because every analysis soon came to an assessment of the impacts of the war. “The war has changed everything: our economy, our people’s livelihood, and the prices of energy carriers and the availability thereof,” Kallas listed. She added that the war had changed the challenges facing us and in particular the ways in which we were looking for solutions to them. “Last year, our eastern neighbour showed that it was capable of taking the most unpredictable and illogical steps,” Kallas noted. She remarked that all neighbours were in danger.

Kallas emphasised that therefore Estonia’s defence spending had to increase. “Without strengthening our defence capability, we cannot seriously talk about either of the future of our economy or about the kind of Estonia we will be leaving to our children and grandchildren,” Kallas said. “The purpose of increasing our defence spending is not to destroy our enemy, but the purpose is to destroy our enemy’s will to attack us,” Kallas said. She noted that we had to rethink our state budget priorities and it was necessary to return to seeking a balanced state budget.

“This is not going to be simple. This will mean sacrifices for all of us, and I must ask for patience and understanding from all Estonian people. An understanding that we are not doing all this because we like it but because it needs to be done. If we do not put our public finances in order now, it will be very much harder to put them in order in a few years’ time,” Kallas emphasised. She pointed out that the loan burden of the state had doubled in a few years. Borrowing is no longer an alternative in a significantly more expensive credit environment. The national reserves have been spent and the only right way is to take a course towards a balanced state budget.

In Kallas’s words, according to the current calculations, it is necessary both to cut expenses and to increase the incomes of the state. The candidate for Prime Minister said that the coalition was going to do a state budget revision. “We will be reviewing every cost item in order to eliminate unnecessary expenses and to use budget funds as wisely and economically as possible. We will reshape governance and reform the structure of ministries. We will reduce the number of ministers by two. We are not asking only the people to economise. We are seeing that state agencies will also have to make their contribution to this.”

“The political goals of the common Government will be, first, the ensurance of security, second, the sustainability of public finances, third, the carrying out of green reforms, fourth, the reduction of regional disparity, fifth, the reduction of the inequality of incomes and an increase of healthy life years and life expectancy, and sixth, the development of a personal state and high-quality education,” she said. She expressed the conviction that, together, the people would be able to achieve all that.

In Kallas’s words, the new coalition will continue with the transition to Estonian-language education and the organisation of the school network, extending the opportunities to preserve primary schools close to home. She pointed out that that was directly linked to Estonia’s security. “Communicating in a common language and living in a common information space is one of the best ways to ensure our defence capability and will to defend. A divided society is a tempting prey to an aggressor. Unity is a deterrent that makes the aggressor hesitate, fear, and abandon their attack,” Kallas explained.

Finally, Kallas said that the Estonian people had always managed and had been extremely successful. She pointed out that we could achieve anything we wanted because we were a headstrong, stubborn, hardworking, and successful people. “We have both reason and heart. We are able to help those in need and at the same time to organize the life of our country in such a way that our descendants will also be happy and proud to live here,” Kallas said.

The candidate for Prime Minister replied to numerous questions of members of the Riigikogu. Due to the end of the working hours of the sitting, the discussion will continue at the sitting starting at 2 p.m. on Wednesday.

At the sitting, Auditor General Janar Holm took his oath of office.

After the sitting, the new Riigikogu began to form parliamentary friendship groups and associations of the members of the Riigikogu.

Photos of the sitting (Author: Erik Peinar, Chancellery of the Riigikogu)

Verbatim record of the sitting (in Estonian)

The video recording of the sitting will be available to watch later on the Riigikogu YouTube channel.
(Please note that the recording will be uploaded with a delay.)

Riigikogu Press Service
Merilin Kruuse
Phone: +372 631 6592, +372 510 6179
E-mail: [email protected]
Questions: [email protected]

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