Cause and Effect in European Politics and Law

Why have the Estonians elected the same government?

Adelina Marini, Ralitsa Kovacheva, March 9, 2011

Can you imagine - the Estonians have re-elected their centre-right government, which tightened their belts 2-3 years ago just to enter the country into the euro area (as of January 1st 2011), to reduce the budget deficit under 3% of GDP and to reduce debt! Estonia and Sweden are the only two EU member states that currently are not in an excessive deficit procedure. The party of Premier Andrus Ansip (the Reform Party!) has won 33 seats in Parliament, while the junior coalition partners - the Pro Patria and Res Publica - have won totally 23 seats.

Thus the current ruling parties have totally 56 seats in the 101-seat parliament of Estonia. Please take into account - with six more than the performance of these same parties at the previous elections!

When I learned about the victory of reforms in Estonia (after the name of the leading party), I started thinking how the government used to explain its intentions, its actions, were there inactions, how did media reflect the developments. I thought about this because I firmly believe that in Bulgaria a government that has caused people the suffering of not piling up more debt at the expense of short-term insignificant prosperity, would never be re-elected. Here only governments that promise a lot and do nothing win. And this is going on for 20 years. Each has a priority of taking Bulgarian into the euro area, but this will not happen soon to Bulgaria, unless the Financial Stability Pact is enforced and abode with.

And as obviously this news can hardly be interpreted in distant and not-right Bulgaria, here is how the most influential global financial daily, The Financial Times, described the election victory of the centre-right parties in the Baltic Republic: "Estonia’s ruling centre-right coalition won a decisive victory in Sunday’s general election as voters rewarded it for piloting the economy through crisis and into recovery".

The newspaper quotes analysts from Tallinn, who said that the Estonians were worried about the future, but felt safer with a government that had guided them into the euro in January as well as membership last summer in the organisation of the richest countries in the world - the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). By the way Bulgaria applied for membership in the organisation in the beginning of the term of the triple coalition (the previous government).

The Baltic excellent student was invited for membership to the OECD in 2007. Of the new members of the EU, except Estonia, also Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, the Czech Republic and Hungary are also members of the prestigious club.

And in order not be talking in vain, here are the numbers that forced Estonians elect the same government: the forecast of the budget deficit for this year is 1.6% of GDP, which is within the average for the eurozone. The public debt is expected to be around 9.5 per cent in 2011 which, at this stage, is the lowest level of public debt in the Monetary union, much less than the average of 86.5%. The government has committed to balance the budget by 2014, which has obviously proved to be an important promise for the Estonians.

Why am I telling you all this? Because usually everyone says not to compare Bulgaria to Germany or other developed countries. Alright, let's compare with Estonia! And what do we see? Our public debt is the second lowest in the EU after that of Estonia. But ours is such by accident and is actually progressing upward. Which shows what? A direction opposite to Estonia's. Generous governments, secure mandate. The difference is devastating. Because the numbers are numbers but the substance is what matters and who believes in it. The Estonians obviously know where they are going. After half a century of communism they are running away from it with all their strength.

The question is why is Bulgaria still cycling in the seductive circle of democracy with a communist face?