Speaking to ERR Brussels correspondent Epp Ehand on Monday evening, Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre) said that he had explained to Minister of Foreign Trade and Information Technology Kert Kingo (EKRE) that foreign visits are a crucial part of her job. He did not, however, consider her decision to speak exclusively in Estonian to be a hindrance.
"When I met with her, then I said that foreign visits and visiting various countries together with delegations of Estonian entrepreneurs are essential for the Minister of Foreign Trade," Ratas told "Aktuaalne kaamera." "She fully agreed with this, and as far as I know she still fully agrees with it."
Last week, Kingo confirmed to daily Postimees that she intended to travel as little as possible as minister.
"I plan on traveling only in extreme cases, and if at all possible, I will delegate foreign visits to others," she said.
Thus far, she has not provided any justification for her decision to avoid travel. ERR has sent its own questions to the minister.
Kingo also said that she had decided to speak only in Estonian at meetings.
Ehand asked Ratas to what extent Kingo could be expected to do her job in Estonian, considering that both foreign trade and IT are very international topics.
"If she is dedicated, then I am sure that it is possible," Ratas replied. "An interpreter can't be the reason why someone can't do their job. We currently have heads of state in the EU that only speak in their native language, on the level of prime minister as well, and they have gotten by. Of course, language skills are always a plus."
Editor: Aili Vahtla