Prime Minister Jüri Ratas will not attend the president's reception on Independence Day in 2020 and denied there is a rift between the prime minister and the head of state.
Ratas (Centre) said during an interview with ERR's Russian language TV channel ETV+ that he will attend the military parade on Vabaduse väljak (Freedom Square) on February 24 but will not be attending the annual reception held by the president in the evening.
Speaking during an end-of-year interview, he said: "On February 24, I will definitely be attending events at Vabaduse väljak, the parade, and others. If you are wondering if I am going to attend the presidential reception, I can say that I have already informed the president that, unfortunately, I will not be in Estonia [in the evening] for the reception because I would like to spend the school holidays with my family."
He denied that the reason for missing the event is because Kaljulaid has called the current coalition government a "threat to national security" or that relations between the offices of the president and prime minister are frosty.
Ratas said: "Nothing threatens national security and constitutional order in Estonia. This government strengthens their foundation, not weakens it. I am very sorry that the Estonian president has formed such an opinion, but it is her right. It is very important to have a dialogue between us and I respect the president of our country."
Editor: Helen Wright