Over the past six months in which she has been in office, the majority of domestic visits made by Minister of Culture Piret Hartman (SDE) have been to her native Ida-Viru County, where she is also running for election to the Riigikogu this spring, writes daily Eesti Päevaleht (EPL).
"Over half a year, the minister, who was sworn in on July 18, has spent 45 days on visits, 30 days, or two thirds of the time, of which have taken her to Ida-Virumaa specifically," EPL reported Wednesday (link in Estonian).
"I don't know if a minister [can be] blamed for spending too much time in a region that is a serious concern," Hartman told the paper. "Ida-Viru County impacts Estonia's security, i.e. what will happen there next. It also has Estonia's biggest socio-economic concerns." She added that the government has made the Northeastern Estonian county a focus, and since she is from there and knows the area, that is why she's spent more time there.
EPL also drew attention to the fact that Hartman has frequently scheduled visits for Fridays, the itineraries of which often haven't been made public. The Ministry of Culture specified that the majority of Fridays have been spent visiting schools and libraries in the region, in addition to meeting with local business owners, local government leaders and directors, the paper added.
The ministry noted that Hartman has managed to visit eight counties, but in her time as minister hasn't visited Pärnu, Hiiu, Põlva or Lääne counties. Figures show that following 20 visits to Ida-Viru County lasting a total of 30 days, the culture minister has also visited Valga County and Tartu County three times each, including five days in Valga County.
Editor: Aili Vahtla