EKRE's Riigikogu faction initiated a bill to move Estonia's embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and added 50 amendments to it to prolong the parliament's obstruction. The Foreign Affairs Committee chairman said EKRE's activities should not be taken seriously.
"Since Israel has been the victim of an unprecedented terrorist attack, and Estonia has already declared its full support for Israel in its fight against terrorists, moving the Estonian Embassy to Jerusalem is the most visible and effective statement of support for Israel in its fight against Muslim terrorists," EKRE Chairman Martin Helme said in the draft's explanatory text.
The faction also submitted 50 amendments to the bill, which proposed making the change by January 1, 2024 at the latest. Each of the amendments moves the deadline by one day ending on Feburary 19, 2024.
Helle-Moonika Helme, EKRE faction vice-chairman, told ERR the amendments are intended to prolong the obstruction.
"The amendments to this and many other drafts are clearly obstructionist in nature. The aim is to use delaying tactics to put pressure on the ruling coalition to stop its power politics and seek compromises with the opposition," she explained in a written comment.
"It will be up to the governing parties to decide whether they want to return to normal parliamentary work or whether they prefer to carry on in the face of deepening confrontation until the next elections. Naturally, we want the Estonian embassy in Israel to be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem," she confirmed.
Marko Mihkelson (Reform), chairman of the Riigikogu's Foreign Affairs Committee, which is handling the proposal, criticized EKRE's actions: "This is not how foreign policy is made. It is nowhere near the good practice and logic that has ensured the credibility and consistency of Estonia's foreign policy."
Mihkelson said the 50 amendments suggest it is nothing more than procrastination tactics and not a serious suggestion. "This attitude to the draft is not credible from the outset," he said.
The draft will be discussed by the committee on Monday.
Former Preisdent Donald Trump moved the U.S.' embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in 2018. The majority of countries, including Estonia, have their diplomatic missions in Tel Aviv.
EKRE is obstructing the work of the Riigikogu and hoping to force extraordinary elections next year.
Editor: Mait Ots, Helen Wright