Tallinn mayor: EDF orchestra could come under city authority

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Mayor of Tallinn Mihhail Kõlvart (Center). Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

The Estonian Defense Forces (EDF) orchestra could be transferred to Tallinn city authorities' remit, Tallinn mayor Mihhail Kõlvart (Center) says, in the aftermath of reports that personnel from the military band, along with the chaplaincy corps, are to be cut as part of the government's planned defense cuts.

"We discussed with colleagues and are ready to propose to bring the EDF orchestra under Tallinn's cultural institutions from September, allowing musicians to continue their primary activities.

Kõlvart added that the move could be temporary.

"If Estonia's defense budget recovers and the state deems it necessary, we are of course ready to hand it back to the EDF," he added, calling the force and its band key in shaping Estonia's defensive will and capabilities.

"The tradition, symbolic value and component of our music culture that began in the year of the birth of the Republic of Estonia must not be easily lost," the mayor noted.

Of possible sources from the city's budget, Kõlvart said that savings had been made in the reduction of extra-curricular hobby education for children, which, he says, has not harmed Tallinn's children themselves, adding that his offer was not mere words.

How this would work regarding EDF orchestra appearances outside the capital was not reported.

Other, rival parent bodies for the EDF military orchestra so far are the defense ministry and the interior ministry, with the ministers of both saying that the band and chaplaincy services could come under its aegis.

Cutting the EDF military orchestra would save around €1.4 million, it is reported, while the government is aiming to make around €10 million in defense cuts, at least under its recent state budget strategy document.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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