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At today's sitting, the Riigikogu authorised the candidate for Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas to form the Government. 58 members of the Riigikogu supported Rõivas and 40 were against.

In his speech, Rõivas highlighted the most important objectives of the activities of the new Government. The Government’s programme sets down the great challenges of Estonia the implementation of which will be the outset for all activities of the Government.

Rõivas noted that, in order to ensure the sustainability of our country today, tomorrow and for many generations to come, the Government of the Social Democratic Party, the Pro Patria and Res Publica Union and the Reform Party will continue with a steadfast, consistent and well-considered security and national defence policy.

An important challenge is to ensure the growth of the Estonian economy and the incomes of the people. “There is no need to change the bases of the economic policy that has brought success to Estonia. We will continue with the simple tax system with few exceptions, and the fair enterprise competition and open economy, conservative budget policy and the economic environment open to capital. We prefer to reduce the taxation of labour force at the expense of the taxation of health-damaging and environment-polluting goods. We have agreed to decrease the social tax rate and to raise the basic exemption from income tax,” Rõivas explained.

The candidate for Prime Minister sees as a great challenge that economic growth would reach everybody and that the subsistence of people would improve. “The state must be there for those who need it the most. It is the wish of the new Government coalition that all people of Estonia would benefit from economic growth, that no one would be left behind,” Rõivas said. He added that the system will aim to alleviate wage poverty and to help people in the improvement of their standard of living. The Government coalition will pay particular attention to children, the elderly and people with special needs. We will ensure fulfilment of the objectives and activities set out in the cooperation agreement of the work capacity reform with social partners.

Rõivas said that the most important of the great challenges is that Estonia would persist. That we had more children. The population of European countries is ageing and everybody is facing serious challenges concerning employment policy and social system. “The unified government coalition of three partners will continue to develop a demographically efficient family policy by raising the benefit for the first and second child to 60 euro. We will continue payment of the 100-euro monthly benefit starting from the third child. In addition, we will pay a 200-euro benefit for families with many children to every family raising three or more children. We will ensure an opportunity to participate in sports and hobby activities for every young person by establishing a national integrated targeted hobby activities supporting system,” Rõivas said.

Rõivas stressed the importance of innovative Estonia in view of an even better organisation of the life of our country. “However, the state reform cannot be about turning things upside down indiscriminately. It is about efficiency. As I said a year ago, I also say now that we have no reason to tear down that which the previous Governments have built. Instead, we can use it as the foundation for a continuing building of success. And therefore everybody can choose whether to call it by the very ambitious name of ‘the state reform’, or a little bit more simply ‘innovative Estonia’”, Rõivas explained. He noted that, with a view to a better organisation of the state, the Government coalition had agreed to carry out a local administration reform. A self-evident part of innovative Estonia is the development of e-state. “In innovative Estonia, no longer waste paper is produced on the principle of ‘signed, sealed with ten stamps and filed’. All public services must, where at all possible, be digital for the citizen and thereby enhance the functioning of the state and increase the efficiency of the public sector,” Rõivas said.

Rõivas mentioned also the Estonian presidency of 2018 as a great challenge for the Government. The strength and solidity of Europe comes from active and broad dialogues, intensive exchange of ideas. The current security and economic situation brings forth particularly clearly the importance of the common vision emerging as a result of this dialogue. Europe needs to move towards a stronger security and internal security policy, energy policy, monetary union and internal market, and growing employment market. We also have to deal with promotion of the interests of European companies and the protection of European citizens in third countries. We see Estonia in this process as a partner who is dignified, rich in ideas and also curious – a state that carries European values and is interested in the valuing and promotion of the four fundamental freedoms of the European Union.

At the conclusion of his speech, Rõivas summarised the coalition negotiations. “We agreed upon great challenges, aims and ways how to take Estonia forward. Indeed, in view of the resoluteness, constancy and steadfastness of the three partners, I would like to give a name to the Government coalition about to be established, here before the Riigikogu, following the traditions. It is a ‘Persistent Union’. In this way – resolutely, unwaveringly and persistently – we are ready to go together in order to bring to life that which was written down in the agreement,” Rõivas said.

The candidate for Prime Minister replied to numerous questions of members of the Riigikogu.

The video of the sitting is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ylBiS2sOZlA

Photos of the sitting: https://fotoalbum.riigikogu.ee/v/Riigikogu/XIII+Riigikogu/08042015/

The Riigikogu Press Service