EKRE's candidate for rural affairs minister says trusts PRIA

EKRE's candidate for rural affairs minister Arvo Aller.

PHOTO: Sander Ilvest

The candidate of the Conservative People's Party (EKRE) for the post of minister of rural affairs Arvo Aller said that he trusts the Estonian Agricultural Registers and Information Board (PRIA) and that he hopes that next year’s state budget will be supplemented with an extra €5 million for domestic agricultural allowances.

Aller did not wish to comment at the press conference on Monday the listeria scandal of the fish packing and fish processing company M.V.Wool and the activities of the Veterinary and Food Board in this context.

The ministerial candidate said that he needs to acquaint himself further with the details and is presently unable to comment on matters relating to the Veterinary and Food Board and PRIA. He stressed, however, that the law must be complied with.

Aller said that the intention is to find €5 million worth of additional resources in next year’s state budget for agricultural transitional support, which was also confirmed by Minister of Finance Martin Helme.

Transitional allowances in agriculture have been reduced from €15.3 million to €5 million euros in next year’s state budget. The support aims to partially compensate the reduced agricultural allowances allocated to Estonia by the European Union. The level of direct support for Estonia is the lowest in the EU.

The incoming rural affairs minister also said that he has no candidate for the job of secretary general of the Ministry of Rural Affairs.

“We will definitely look at suitable candidates and will also stage a competition if necessary. I’ve got no name to give,” Aller said before journalists. Asked about who will join his team as advisers, Aller said that the team was being established.

“Who will belong to it will become clear after I have been endorsed as minister,” he said.

“It is a great honor and opportunity to be the minister of rural affairs in this difficult time,” Aller said.

EKRE deputy head Martin Helme, describing Aller as “the real salt of the Earth,” said that the party began looking for a candidate for the rural affairs portfolio when the report of the committee looking into the actions of the previous minister, Mart Järvik, was finished.

The rural affairs portfolio belongs to EKRE under the coalition agreement of the three parties making up the government coalition in Estonia.

Aller is a member of EKRE, chairman of the East-Viru County Farmers’ Association, a member of the Jõhvi municipality council and deputy chair of its rural affairs committee. He is a member of the board of the agricultural advisory service NPO Eesti Maaelu Nõuandeteenus and a member of the Estonian Association of Agricultural Advisers.

Aller is an agronomy graduate of the Estonian University of Life Sciences.