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Jüri Ratas: Kaja Kallas will be Estonia's next European commissioner

Kaja Kallas and Jüri Ratas.
Kaja Kallas and Jüri Ratas. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Kaja Kallas will step down as prime minister once the Reform Party is clear on who its candidate for the next European commissioner from Estonia will be, former prime minister and former Center Party leader Jüri Ratas says.

The former prime minister and former Riigikogu speaker said that this will in fact represent a job-switch for Kallas.

Ratas said Friday that: "I am quite convinced that [the next commissioner] will be Kaja Kallas. From the prime minister post, to the European Commission. All member states hold one position [at the commission]. As a rule, former prime ministers can sit on the commission, as vice presidents."

It is this, rather than maneuvering ahead of next June's European Parliament election, which is the main context in which the current spat should be seen, Ratas added.

Ratas noted a long-running dispute between Ansip and Kaja Kallas, among other internal tensions in the Reform Party, and this has simply come to the fore, he said, becoming "all-out war" in the process.

On the other hand, Reform is professional enough to be able to find consensus on these and other matters, Ratas, whose party served in office alongside Reform from January 2021 to June 2022, continued.

In the context of Andrus Ansip's calls for Kallas to be replaced as Reform's leader, and thus as prime minister, Ratas said that the big factional fight within Reform is overdue, having been put on hold with Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which began over 22 months ago.

He also noted concerns Reform's senior members have over the party's significantly low rating, at around 15-17 percent compared with over 30 percent as recently as summer 2022.

Ratas said that Reform voters, leave alone other voters, disapprove of the party's recent policies and actions, making the time ripe for a leadership battle.

Center's rating, too, has fallen, by a few percentage points following Ratas' departure as party leader in September, though the party's support had been in decline for a long time prior to that.

Center currently holds the European commissioner for Estonia spot, in Kadri Simson, whose term of office expires in fall next year.

Simson holds the energy portfolio.

Ansip said earlier in the week that Kallas as party leader, the party's low rating, and the low rating of the coalition government as a whole, all represented a threat to national security, while, he said, the party needed an overhaul of how it conducts its politics.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Indrek Kiisler

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