IRL leader: Laar can prevent foolish acts in European monetary policy

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Photo: Peeter Langovits / Postimees

Speaking at a meeting of the policy-making council of Pro Patria and Res Publica Union (IRL) on Saturday, IRL's chairman Urmas Reinsalu said that the political capital and connections of Mart Laar permit him to avert in his capacity as chairman of the supervisory board of the central bank of Estonia many a foolish act in the policy of the European Central Bank (ECB).

"The European debt crisis and the global financial crisis got their start from banks, and it's there that the finding of solutions will start too. Upon his election as chairman of the bank's supervisory board Mart Laar will assume a position at the head of a constitutional institution, not step aside from Estonian politics. Thise who do not like conservative monetary policy do not like Laar's person either, for good reason. Had Laar been chairman of the bank's supervisory board at the time of the property boom the Bank of Estonia would have interfered faster and raised the capital requirements for banks in a more resolute manner. To say that the problem lies in Laar's being in wheelchair is simply inappropriate," Reinsalu, who replaced Laar as leader of IRL in January 2012, said according to spokespeople.

Reinsalu, minister of defense in the Estonian Cabinet, also spoke about Estonian-Russian relations, saying that the value conflict of principal nature in bilateral relations lies in non-recognition of occupation by Russia.

"When President Ilves called on Russia to apologize for the occupation of Estonia, that has to be preceded by acknowledgement of occupation. Those who speak of or are expecting some kind of all-out thaw in Estonian-Russian relations are mistaken," he said.

Reinsalu said the most pragmatic policy vis-a-vis Russia is value-based policy. "The topic of Russia is and remains a topic of national security for us, we cannot close our eyes to that," he said.

Commenting on the idea of the Rahvakogu (People's Assembly), Reinsalu described the message from that initiative as important for every politician, since the people want to be listened to and included. "That has to happen before and after elections alike. Therefore the listening and reporting policy of parties is important. It's the voters, not politicians, that are the owners of parties, the ones that you must report to," said Reinsalu.

Mart Laar, twice former prime minister and long-time leader of IRL, suffered a stroke in February 2012 and has been using a wheelchair since his release from hospital.

The president earlier this week nominated Laar, 52, for the post of chairman of the supervisory board of the Bank of Estonia.

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