Savisaar to Ansip: bye-bye, Andrus!

22.10.2009, 12:24

The results of the recent local election show clearly that prime minister's economic policy has failed, writes Centre Party chairman Edgar Savisaar.

In his column published in today's Äripäev, Savisaar says that Ansip's macroeconomic experience has pushed the Estonian state into a coma and the voters have now expressed  their opinion.

"Also IRL's chairman Mart Laar has nothing to be happy about since his liberal philosophy of abolishing income tax by turning Estonia into a tax haven has stopped working and has actually never worked," writes Savisaar.

It is clear that liberal economic policies of both Ansip and Laar have failed for good. The only honourable thing for them to do now would be to resign as a government and let smarter economic policy makers to take over and save Estonia. It is not too late to save the economy.

Speaking of Ansip's track record as PM, he single-handedly terminating economic relations with Russia and is breaking up the unity of the Baltic economic area by being patronizing to Latvia. The PM does not understand that the way forward is through cooperation and not through criticism. Estonia can soon find itself in isolation from other Baltic states. The blockade created by Ansip is costing the Estonian state tens of billions of kroons a year.

Jobs are being lost because there are 80,000 people who are official unemployed, but almost 150,000 people who are without job in real terms. Jobs are being lost because of Ansip's economic policies. His claims that Estonia is victim of worldwide economic crisis and it simply has to wait until export markets start making better is nonsense when the government itself is doing nothing to improve the situation. For instance, Finland reduced its employment by 8,000 people in one month or by about 4 percent. What has the Estonian government done other than lost thousands of jobs.

Ansip has also actively been breaking up the Estonian pension system by stopping state contributions to pensions funds. This is eroding both public and investor confidence in the Estonian govenrment, to say nothing of scandals where banks have invested pension funds in junk bonds.

Reform Party is preaching the importance of euro only because it is handy in explaining back failures and justify hardships brought to people. Euro is unquestionably important, but hardly justifiable for economic and social destruction.

To remain on power, under Ansip's leadership the state has been selling state land, mineral resources, forests, real estate and everything else that has a price. Since prices are low, buyers are likely to benefit hugely and would probably show their gratitude to the party on power.

Ansip's tax policy is extremely unstable and is hitting our businesses at the worst moment. Our tax system has become entirely unpredictable and increases in indirect taxes are eroding our competitiveness.

The PM has done nothing to attract foreign investors to Estonia, except for putting up slogans and promising to make Estonia one of the richest countries in Europe.

And the result? We are on top of Europe in unemployment, our GDP decline is third-worst after Latvia and Lithuania, our minimum wage is one of the lowest in Europe, we spend ten times less on active labour market policies of GDP than EU average and even less than Romania and Bulgaria. We are one of the last in innovation, wages of our teachers are one of the lowest in Europe and the world. Estonia is falling in global competitiveness ranking, to say nothing of the spread of HIV/AIDS and ratio of prisoners per capita. We spend peanuts on healthcare and our life expectation matches it.

So, I cannot simply understand why Ansip keeps saying that the Estonian economy is doing well and that he has done a good job as PM. Estonians do not share his optimism and elections showed it. The time for change has also come for Toompea.