Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa), said Wednesday morning the ministry will be terminating its employment relationship with former MEP Indrek Tarand, after the latter was apprehended by the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA), driving under the influence of alcohol.
Tarand had been slated to go to Belarus, to head up Estonia's scaled-back diplomatic representation in Minsk.
Reinsalu told ERR Wednesday morning that: "Yes, [Tarand] was supposed to go to Minsk, but in this context, it means that his employment relationship with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will end and another diplomat will perform the attaché tasks. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will certainly send a new attaché to Minsk without delay, but this requires its own procedures, including Belarusian coordination with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs."
As to whether Tarand's contract was terminated permanently or only temporarily, Reinsalu said: "I don't know how these things go from a procedural perspective, but I can't imagine that given such misconduct he can continue in the diplomatic service."
The foreign minister declined to comment on what Tarand was doing at the ministry at 1.30 a.m. - he was apprehended outside the ministry.
Daily Postimees reported that Tarand was apprehended by PPA personnel in the small hours of Wednesday.
Postimees reported that at around 1.30 a.m. on Wednesday, Tarand was attempting to leave the ministry's underground parking lot by car, which he was driving.
However, the security guard on site reportedly declined to open the barrier, and two PPA vehicles were seen arriving shortly afterwards, after which Tarand was taken away to a police station.
The PPA later confirmed to Postimees that: "A 58-year-old man was found to be criminally intoxicated, and was disqualified from driving and detained.,"
A criminal level of intoxication means 1.5 promilles or more.
The incident was not the first of Tarand's career, ERR reports. Over 20 years ago, in July 2002, he was forced to resign from a post at the foreign ministry after being apprehended while driving by the police on Endla in central Tallinn, and found to be over-the-limit and fined 4,260 Estonian kroons (a little more than €272).
As reported by ERR News, Tarand had been appointed attache to Minsk, following an announcement that Estonia would not be sending an ambassador to the Belarusian capital.
Indrek Tarand was an independent MEP, 2009-2019.
Editor: Andrew Whyte