Newsweek: Kaja Kallas is Europe's new 'Iron Lady'
Prime Minister Kaja Kallas has acquired a new moniker, that of the 'Iron Lady', according to US publication Newsweek's interview with the premier, conducted ahead of last weekend's Lennart Meri security conference, in Tallinn.
The title is one more associated with Margaret Thatcher, prime minister of the U.K. from 1979 to 1990, with the difference in that case being it was the Soviet Pravda which first came up with the nickname.
"I don't know how to answer this," Kallas told Newsweek jokingly, in response to the appellation, the outcome of a ceaseless repudiation of Russian aggression—and of those allies who are seemingly hesitant to face it, Newsweek says.
Newsweek also reported that, if the coalition can make it through what the publication called the current parliamentary turmoil – this was before this week's apparent resolution – then Kallas and her administration will continue to push much larger NATO and EU like-minded states on getting tough on Russia, and redoubling efforts to support Ukraine, including on potential EU and NATO membership.
"I guess it shows that I've been very firm about the issues that I'm talking about. And I think it is meant as a compliment. Although maybe in some countries, it's not. I think it's actually illustrating the point that we are being heard now. And I think it's recognition for us, as Estonia. It's good that we are recognized," the prime minister told Newsweek.
The Kremlin has not sat still on this either – Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova has described Estonia as "one of the most hostile states towards Russia" Newsweek notes – and with that in mind, the publication reached out to the Russian Foreign Ministry via email, for comment, though no response was reported.
The rest of the piece is a fairly by-numbers account, aimed at western readers, on Kallas' background in growing up in the Soviet Union, how she is one of the most combative leaders in Europe, and how Estonia is upping defense spend to 3 percent of GDP.
Kallas did also say that the major electoral issue back in March, where her party won a record 37 seats, and the three coalition parties together, 60 seats, was the defense and security situation.
"The main topic of our elections was security," she said, adding "It was always about security. It was always about Ukraine and the war, and the worries regarding defense. So, yes, the mandate was for that."
The full Newsweek piece is here.
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Editor: Andrew Whyte