Interior minister: I wasn't speaking for whole government

Interior minister Mart Helme (EKRE).
Interior minister Mart Helme (EKRE).

Interior minister Mart Helme says that he was expressing his own personal views and that of his party in the comments he made about new Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin and her government, adding that continued cooperation and good relations between Estonia and Finland would remain the norm.

"I find it necessary to clarify that by giving ratings to the new Finnish left-wing government on a talk show broadcast on TRE radio on December 15, I expressed not the Estonian government's views but those of our party's worldview," Helme wrote, according to ERR.

"By no means do I question the good cooperation and friendship between Estonia and Finland. We are tribal brothers and will remain tribal brothers," he continued.

Helme had said that the five-party coalition headed up by Marin constituted an alliance of 'reds' who wanted to destroy Finland and make it an EU province.

His comments were met with widespread condemnation from leading opposition party members, as well as those of the Centre Party which his party, the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) is in coalition with.

Writing on his social media page on Sunday evening, Estonian Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre) said that: "Finland is our close friend and companion, with whom all of Estonia's government has worked with good and close cooperation."

"This has not been affected by what kind of democratic parties belong to, or are run by, the coalitions in both countries."

Ratas met Marin last Thursday at a meeting in Brussels and extended his congratulations to her on becoming prime minister, which she did by winning a narrow margin of votes following the resignation of her predecessor, Antti Rinne. Rinne had faced a vote of no-confidence initiated by one of the Finnish coalition parties, the Centre Party (Suomen Keskusta) over his handling of a postal workers' strike which recently ended.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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