The chairman of the Estonian Social Democratic Party (SDE) Jevgeni Ossinovski told his party’s convention in the northeastern regional capital Johvi on June 4 that inequality in Estonia become more widespread than in any other European country.

As reported by The Baltic Times, Ossinovski issued a press release before his speech. He said: “Estonia has achieved a lot in the past 25 years, yet in recent years the momentum has gone out of development”.

“The widening income gap is a serious signal that things are not moving in the right direction. When people do not feel that they are benefiting sufficiently from welfare gains, this causes disappointment and alienation,” Ossinovski said, adding that growth in inequality is a global trend which has to do with the development of technology, among other things.

“As we were exiting the economic crisis, the income gap constantly widened. In 2014 we were the country with the most unequal incomes in the European Union. This means that in the past five years the fruits of Estonia’s economic growth have gone disproportionately to the more well-off people.”

Ossinovski also said the future will bring about big challenges for Estonia.

“By the year 2030 we will have about 100,000 fewer employees than now,” he explained. “At the same time, from one third to half of today’s jobs will disappear in the coming decades as a result of technological progress. This will further increase inequality. We must be able to steer our education policy and labour market policy in the right way to emerge as winners in the 21st century economy.”