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No return to POLITICO 'class of' list for Kaja Kallas this year

Prime Minister Kaja Kallas greeting ERR's Janek Luts in the snow outside the ERR Radio House.
Prime Minister Kaja Kallas greeting ERR's Janek Luts in the snow outside the ERR Radio House. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) has not made POLITCO's "Class of 2024" list. Kallas had placed fifth in the "doers" category for 2023, as published a little under a year ago by the European arm of the influential US-founded politics-focused news site.

POLITICO's "Class of" series is an annual ranking of the most influential people in Europe, with three categories — doers, disrupters and dreamers — each representing a different type of power, the publication says, along with the overall most influential person in Europe names.

Influencers from positive, negative and neutral positions, from POLITICO's standpoint, are listed.

That name for 2024, after a few years relatively out of the limelight, is Donald Tusk – the President of the European People's Party and former EU council president, whom POLITICO says is leading a wind of change in Poland after eight years of rule by Catholic conservatives the Law and Justice Party, led by Jarosław Kaczyńsk.

Kaja Kallas was linked in the media with a bid for the NATO secretary general post as recently as a fortnight ago, after replying in the affirmative to the question (posed while she was taking part in a POLITICO-organized panel in Washington) whether she would want that job, once Jens Stoltenberg steps down.

While she placed fifth in the "doers" category last year, Kallas did not make the 2024 list – though she is not alone in this. Also not making the 2024 list after being included last year are such big names, some still in the same office others not, as: Former prime minister of Finland Sanna Marin, former Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon, former European Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans, current European Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton, current commander of United States European Command Gen. Chris Cavoli – plus indeed last year's top "doer," Vice Chancellor of Germany Robert Habeck.

Making the list is certainly not an endorsement of character from either POLITICO or its readers – since Russia's leader Vladimir Putin and its foreign minister Sergey Lavrov made it last year, though they, too, have faded from view and are not included for 2024.

New additions include Jovita Neliupšienė, Lithuania's Deputy Foreign Minister and future EU Ambassador to the US, and France's president, Emmanuel Macron, as well as Donald Tusk as noted.

Returnees to the list from last year include right-wing French politician Marine Le Pen, President of the European Central Bank Christine Lagarde, President of the European Parliament Roberta Metsola, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky and leader of Britain's opposition Labour Party and presumed prime minister-in-waiting Keir Starmer.

As last year POLITICO also gives readers the option to pick their own top five most influential figures in Europe.

A well-known ride-hailing service provider is also included on the list – the app solved a problem we apparently all had back in 2010 but which we no longer do, that of not being able to get access to a ride at the touch of a button, according to the article.

Kaja Kallas placed fifth in the POLITICO "doers" category in 2023, when she was referred to as "The Cassandra," due mainly to her repeat warnings to the West over the dangers Vladimir Putin's Russia presented and long before the actual February invasion of Ukraine, her pressing for further sanctions on Russia and for defense spend of a minimum of 2 percent of GDP per year, for NATO member states.

"Being able to say 'I told you so' has given Kallas greater influence in Brussels, as well as globally," POLITICO said at the time, stating that Kallas is an "excellent communicator" and comparing her favorably with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (who is also not on this year's POLITICO "class of").

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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