Editorial: new govt set to accelerate thru grey stone

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Photo: Urmas Nemvalts

The new government is in office and ready to roll. Not much time to accelerate, admonished the President. Counting from Election Day, the 38 pages of the agreement took 38 days to complete – Estonia’s record length of the ages. In the words of prime minister Taavi Rõivas, it emerged through the grey stone.

In his speech before Riigikogu, yesterday, Mr Rõivas worded the great challenges: national defence, economic and wage growth, coping of low wagers and social protection, and «administrating the state better yet».

Under the latter, among other things, he meant the local administration reform. In Postimees today, Mart Laar observes that administrative reform has been promised before – always backing out, afterwards. Now, as prescribed by the treaty, political coordination of the reform will happen under Prime Minister – hence, Mr Rõivas having his reputation on the line, we might as well join Mart Laar in hoping it will be different, this time around.

The word «[better etc] yet» was a constant feature in prime ministerial speech, yesterday – as underlying the desire to go slow and careful, building on the wall begun by those that went before, not necessarily doing the ambitious new thing. 

In an opinion article in Postimees today, University of Tartu comparative politics professor Vello Andres Pettai notes that in earlier coalitions, parties managed to word their goals in creative headlines and at even style throughout the document. This time, high sounding principles are trumpeted to start with, then proceeding to mechanically list pet key words of each party. This was what an outsider thinks. Mr Rõivas wore different glasses, proclaiming before Riigikogu: «We opted not to put the programmes together, chapter by chapter; rather, we worded the big challenges of Estonia.»

We wish the government well, and may they prove more ambitious than penned in the text. The prime minister did mention «stamina»... not a bad characteristic to possess, thinking of the grey stone yet ahead.   

P.S. To dissect these past talks, let’s compare two quotes. Taavi Rõivas, in Riigikogu yesterday: «Not a secret to anyone, obviously: this coalition treaty was born with great difficulty.» Andrus Ansip, in Postimees today: «I do not agree with those who say that some talks are hard by themselves, as if, and others are easy by themselves. They do come as they are led.»