Karis plans first international visits to Latvia, Finland

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Alar Karis Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

President-elect Alar Karis has said he will be able to disclose new members of his team at the end of the week and would like to make his first visits to Finland and Latvia on the same day.

In an interview with ERR published on Thursday, Karis said it is too soon to reveal any names but said he is working intensively to get a team in place. "Names will probably be known over the next week, time is ticking mercilessly," he said.

Karis, former rector at the University of Tartu and University of Life Sciences and current head of the Estonian National Museum, was elected to office last week and will take up the role on October 11.

Asked if he would make any changes to the current composition of the president's office he said a legal adviser is needed and a person to liaise with the Riigikogu.

"Since I have also made a promise that I will try to communicate more with the parties and the government, I think that such a person is probably needed," he said.

Suggestions about who he could hire have been coming at him from all political parties, but he said: "The main thing is to be good people, it's important you can get everything done." 

Karis said he would like his first international visit to be to Latvia and Finland - ideally on the same day. Traditionally, first visits by the Estonian prime minister and president are always made to Helsinki or Riga.

Elaborating on the issue, he said: "Well, it's always very interesting. I would try to make it the same day. So that it doesn't matter where you go first, where you go second on the same day. Rather, the question is whether the ships are sailing on time and whether the plane is flying on time - that is what should be looked at."

When Current President Kersti Kaljulaid took office in 2016, she visited both Finland and Latvia on October 20, followed by Lithuania on October 26 and Poland on November 2.

He said he will, at least at first, likely live in the president's residence at Kadriorg. Current President Kersti Kaljulaid chose not to move into the residence, preferring a family home elsewhere in Tallinn instead.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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