Ratas defended extraordinary pensions hike

PHOTO: Arvo Meeks / Valgamaalane

Chairman of the Center Party, PM Jüri Ratas said at the Center Party’s council meeting in Kohtla-Järve that the party aims to win the upcoming parliamentary elections and will present a concrete election platform that will include sources for covering expenditure, a new program, and vision document.

Ratas said that just as Estonia ponders its past and history this year, the country needs to take a longer look into the future.

“That is why the Center Party will not just put together a Riigikogu elections platform. We have decided to develop three important documents to concentrate on the coming years, the party’s programmatic positions, as well as future decades,” he said.

The party will put together its new program by the time of its annual congress. The working group in charge of updating the program that hasn’t been changed since 2005 will be headed by Aadu Must.

Center will also present a vision document titled “Estonia’s Vision 2040” that will set goals for the next two decades under the guidance of the party’s deputy chairman Kadri Simson. The three documents will lean on thoughts collected during 101 meetings with the people of Estonia.

Ratas added that last year the people entrusted the Center Party with the running of dozens of local governments and gave it the overall elections victory. The party also plans to win the Riigikogu elections.

“We are not doing it out of desire to cling to power no matter what. We are not doing it because we have come second for too long – 16 years. We will win the elections because the Center Party has a lot more to offer Estonia and its people,” the PM said.

Ratas highlighted the coalition’s income tax reform that will give hundreds of thousands of workers an additional €64 a month, as well as additional healthcare financing as some of the party’s recent achievements.

“The main topic of the next elections is ensuring the well-being and dignified retirement for the elderly. We also need to find suitable solutions in the world of caregivers and care homes. It is the state’s duty to support and help those who need it the most,” he emphasized.

Chairman of the Reform Party council, MP Kristen Michal said that the Center Party and Jüri Ratas cannot be taken seriously when it comes to pensions until the government turns back its tax hike for working pensioners. “During a time when we need skilled workers, our centrist government has started to lead them away from active life by deciding to increase the taxes of working pensioners,” Michal wrote in Postimees’ opinion section.