MP: With new EKRE minister, lack of English language skills a good thing

Kert Kingo.
Kert Kingo. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Independent MP Raimond Kaljulaid pointed out on Saturday that contrary to what many commentators have said about new EKRE trade and IT minister, Kert Kingo's lacking language skills, the fact that she doesn't speak English and has announced she won't travel as much as her predecessors is a good thing: "The less EKRE's leading politicians communicate with the rest of the world and the poorer their command of foreign languages, the better."

Personally, he thinks that a minister refusing to travel and just sitting in her office in Tallinn doesn't make much sense, Mr Kaljulaid suggested. In his experience, in the private sector just sitting idly by and waiting for customers to come hardly ever leads to success, he added.

"In this case, however, I would make an exception," Kaljulaid said. The less the leading politicians of the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) communicate with the rest of the world, and the poorer their foreign language skills, the better, he added, and that the party's MPs, most of all Jaak Madison and Ruuben Kaalep, have already done enough by justifying Nazi Germany in the international media.

Minister of Foreign Trade and IT Kert Kingo (EKRE) has recently faced sharp criticism after she announced that she wouldn't travel much, and only speak Estonian when abroad.

Former minister of foreign affairs and incumbent MEP, Urmas Paet (Reform), thinks that this attitude makes the position of trade minister redundant. "In this case, the position doesn't serve a purpose," Paet said in a press release. Kingo's portfolio was created expressly to help Estonian businesses gain access to markets abroad, and the key to success in this case lies in the minister's communication skills, he added.

Kingo's comments on travel and language clearly show that she doesn't understand her position at all, Paet said further: "[In Kingo's case], the position is utterly pointless, even potentially damaging."

The new minister is expected at a ministerial-level meeting in Ottawa, Canada next week. Kingo said that she will only speak Estonian, that she thinks this should be the rule for Estonian ministers in general, and that she will communicate with her counterparts through an interpreter. She further said that she would travel only "in extremely urgent cases."

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Editor: Dario Cavegn

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