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Prime minister: Anneli Ott can continue as culture minister

Kaja Kallas in Brussels.
Kaja Kallas in Brussels. Source: European Union

Prime Minister Kaja Kallas told ERR at the European Council in Brussels on Thursday that unvaccinated Minister of Culture Anneli Ott can continue as minister, but her work will have to be re-organized after she comes back from vacation.

From Monday (October 25), only vaccinated people or those who have recovered from coronavirus will be able to attend culture events. The government has introduced the rule to try and boost Estonia's vaccination rate.

ERR's Brussels correspondent Joosep Värk asked the prime minister if she trusts Ott and if the culture minister can continue working at the position if she is unvaccinated.

"Culture minister Anneli Ott has said that she will see how her work can be re-organized and we will certainly discuss these things with her. We have already talked about how she can do her job in the best possible way. There is a recommendation to work from home and I believe Anneli Ott will use that option," Kallas said.

The prime minister said she does not know how the situation will be going forward, but Ott has told her that she can continue working.

In a letter sent to the prime minister on Tuesday, the Estonian Association of Performing Arts Institutions criticized Anneli Ott for not being present enough for the culture sector physically and mentally. Other representatives of the culture sector supported the association's statement. The performing arts association also reprimanded the culture minister for her management of the culture sector's wage fund.

Ott, who is unvaccinated and unable to attend culture events, responded and said she has met with performing arts institutions' managers to discuss wages and has explained the agreements and options the state budget allows.

She said in an interview with ERR that the sector's criticism toward her is simply tension caused by the coronavirus crisis and that she considers such discussions important. She said she does not intend on stepping down.


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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