No. 7




The number one priority for the coalition

11 June 2003


RiTo No. 7, 2003

  • Katrin Saks

    Member of European Parliament, Social Democratic Party

Cooperation between partners with diverse interests is only possible when a common ground is found and agreement is able to be reached on the principles. This means a coalition agreement is essential, though it is a separate matter how detailed a given agreement should be in terms of concrete policies.

The coalition agreement between Res Publica, Reform Party and the People’s Union is quite different from previous ones in terms of its volume. It raises the question of what sort of role a coalition agreement will fulfill. Is it a matter of a declaration on common values, of describing goals, a plan of activity for the next four years, or distribution of state posts?

Regardless of the fact that family and demographic policy is still in the formative stages, this field has been a priority in the coalition agreement. Unfortunately, the wording of more specific family policy goals remains a little vague. Indeed, it has been murky for politicians for years. Often the only goal they see is an ascending curve in the birth rate and it is taken as a yardstick for the effectiveness of support and services for families with children.

The coalition agreement mentions both maternity leave payments and infant-rearing support, with repeated mention of words such as ‘child at risk’ and support centers, but this need not mean we are moving toward a social welfare state. The agreement’s elegant slogans about child-friendliness do not count for anything without a proper system of subsidies on the state and local levels.

Full article in Estonian