What the papers say: Ratas and women, the archbishop and SEB

Estonian newspapers (photo is illustrative).
Estonian newspapers (photo is illustrative). Source: Anna Aurelia Minev/ERR

On January 9, Eesti Päevaleht questioned whether the prime minister has a problem with women and most newspapers reported Archbishop Urmas Viilma's frustration with SEB bank.

All links in Estonian. 

Does Jüri Ratas have a problem with women?

Raimo Poom writing in Eesti Päevaleht (EPL) questioned whether Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre) has a problem with women in positions of authority after rumours about his working relationship with President Kersti Kaljulaid suggest things are not smooth sailing between the pair.

Poom writes: "It has been a mistake not to see a pattern emerge showing that there is some inexplicable failure with women in the leadership of the Center Party, the government and the coalition. He [Ratas] has a problem with women who may endanger his position or exhibit independence and disobedience."

He says Ratas seems to try to avoid meeting the president when possible, including missing the Rose Garden reception in the summer, the cancellation of the President and the Government's end-of-year dinner, and his recent announcement that he will not be attending president's ball on Independence Day on February 24.

Kaljulaid has previously called the current coalition government a threat to national security.

Other examples Poom gives include there is lack of women in positions of authority in the coalition and Centre Party, and that red lines have been applied to working with the opposition Reform Party, and chairman Kaja Kallas, that have not been applied to EKRE.

The article provoked a response from the Centre Party, which was also published in EPL, arguing that Ratas does not have a problem with women and listing times when he has encouraged them to take up positions of authority.

Female members of the Centre Party, including Estonia's EU commissioner Kadri Simson, Minister for Education and Research Mailis Reps, Deputy Mayor of Tallinn Eha Võrk, and members of the Riigikogu Oudekki Loone and Anelli Ott all spoke up in support of Ratas.

Oudekki Loone said: "I recall that it was Jüri Ratas who nominated Kadri Samson as the candidate for the chairman of the Center Party [in 2015]. Kadri and Mailis, who are undoubtedly strong independent women, have been Jüri's closest companions and friends for years. Incidentally, Jüri Ratas supported the election of Kersti Kaljulaid as president at the time." 

Writing on Facebook in reply to Poom's opinion article, Ratas said:

"Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to defend yourself from accusations where this is not a shred of truth. Such as for those accusations that are completely absurd, like the elephant [in the room] Raimo Poom constructed in today's Eesti Päevaleht. If there is such a thought in the backroom and such a worldview, then the window should be opened and a great breath of fresh air should be let into the room," he commented on Facebook. 

Õhtulet reported that Ratas said the Center Party has always been committed to ensuring that all its members have equal opportunities in politics and society to advance and achieve their goals. Regardless of their gender, nationality, mother tongue, or other circumstances.

Archbishop questions SEB's address change policy

Archbishop Urmas Viilma took to social media to question why he could not change his child's place of residence online, but has to go to a branch of SEB to do so instead.

After changing his own address online, he found that he could not do so for a minor and must go to the bank in person.

"It is incomprehensible that in an e-age, where I can go online anywhere in the world with an internet connection, to make big money transfers, buy and sell anything from socks to cars, re-register my place of residence, apply for identity documents and do many other wonderful things, that I cannot change the address of my child's residence in SEB Internet Bank in the same way as my own," wrote Viilma.

At the end of the post, Viilma said he is very sympathetic to everyone living on the island of Hiiumaa: "They have to spend almost a whole day working to change their children's home address, in a world-famous e-country, and must take a ferry to the mainland, to Haapsalu, where their nearest SEB Bank office is located."

Doctor of the year 

Väike-Maarja's family doctor Mall Lepiksoo was awarded the title of doctor of the year on Thursday by Prime Minister Jüri Ratas and Minister for Social Affairs Tanel Kiik in a ceremony at Stenbock House in Tallinn.

Postimees wrote Lepiksoo has worked as a doctor in Lääne-Viru County for more than 40 years and the locals have nothing but praise for her. This was the 18th time the award has been handed out.

Pärnu County resident's pony peeves

Residents in Oriküla, Pärnu County are fed up with a herd of a dozen horses, who have been all but abandoned by their owner, as they are trashing other people's property in search of food.

Maaleht writes, "In Oriküla, Pärnu County, you can see an unusual sight - a large field of grain surrounded by an electric fence," which is being used to keep the horses out. So far they have ruined bales of hay and eaten crops which have totalled thousands of euros worth of damage. Their owner has promised to pay for the damage they have caused but hasn't yet done so.

Other stories reported in the Estonian media today:

Postimees: Estonians escaping the fires in Australia

Delfi: Health problems caused deaths of two Finns on Tallink ferry

Postimees: Half of eggs sold in Estonia are imported


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Editor: Helen Wright

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