Paet Reverses, Takes European Parliament Seat
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Urmas Paet, will take Andrus Ansip's seat in the European Parliament, after saying he would continue as Estonia's minister only a week ago.
Paet told ETV today that he has reconsidered the position and will got to the European Parliament. “11.5 years in government is a very long time. I think change is needed,” he said.
Today was the deadline for naming the new Estonian MEP in place of Ansip. Had Paet rejected Ansip's seat, with Ansip becoming a EU Commissioner, parliamentarian and Reform Party member Igor Gräzin would have been the next on the list.
“Taking into consideration the stressful situation in Europe and in neighboring areas, I think the right thing to do is to carry on protecting Estonian interests as the foreign minister and turn down the chance to go to the European Parliament,” Paet said in a press release last week.
Ansip said Paet has the mandate of the people to take up a seat in the European Parliament and would quickly find a role there.
There had been speculation that Paet would take the MEP position, as the party reportedly does not want to hand him a top ministerial job after the next election in March, and could go with the current Minister of the Environment, Keit Pentus-Rosimannus, instead, as foreign minister.