Culture minister confirms Kaalep as Integration Foundation board member

Ruuben Kaalep at the Riigikogu.
Ruuben Kaalep at the Riigikogu. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Estonian Minister of Culture Heidy Purga (Reform) has confirmed Ruuben Kaalep (EKRE) as a member of the board of the Integration Foundation (Integratsiooni Sihtasutus). Kaalep was previously recalled from a board role due to being a member of the Riigikogu.

On June 2, Purga recalled Andero Adamson and Vadim Belobrovtsev (Center) from the Integration Foundation's board and appointed Henry Kattago, Andrus Tamme, Aleksei Jašin (Eesti 200) and Ruuben Kaalep (EKRE) for a three-year term.

On January 5 this year, then Minister of Culture Piret Hartman (SDE), decided to make changes to the Integration Foundation's board. Hartman recalled Heidi Uustalu and Andrus Tamme from the foundation's board, appointing social and healthcare expert Georg Männik, Tartu city councilor Henri Kaselo (SDE) and Ruuben Kaalep as new members for a three-year term.

Kaalep's appointment to the board attracted considerable controversy, with the Jewish Community of Estonia expressing its concerns to the culture minister regarding the politicians' alleged anti-Semitic views.

A few days later, Hartman recalled Kaalep from the role, stating, that boards established by the state cannot include politicians, who have been elected to the Riigikogu.

Hartman therefore asked EKRE to appoint a new representative, who was not a member of the Riigikogu.

However, EKRE did not do so, with Kaalep pointing out, that Hartman had already been aware of Kaalep's work as a member of the Riigikogu when appointing him to the foundation's board on January 5 this year

"The separation of powers did not become an issue until Alla Jakobson, a representative of the Jewish Community of Estonia, wrote to the minister demanding my removal from the board," Kaalep wrote on social media.

Ruuben Kaalep did not run in the most recent Riigikogu elections, thus removing the formal obstacle Hartman had referred to when recalling him from the Integration Foundation's board.


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Editor: Michael Cole

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