Helme, Vaher meet, confirm continued cooperation

Minister of the Interior Mart Helme (EKRE) and PPA Director General Elmar Vaher following their meeting on Thursday morning. Aug. 22, 2019.
Minister of the Interior Mart Helme (EKRE) and PPA Director General Elmar Vaher following their meeting on Thursday morning. Aug. 22, 2019. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

Speaking to the press on Thursday morning, Minister of the Interior Mart Helme (EKRE) said that he had met that morning with Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) Director General Elmar Vaher and buried the hatchet between them. Vaher confirmed that they would continue target-based cooperation.

"I met with Elmar Vaher at 8 a.m.today; we spoke for half an hour, summarized the dispute that had arisen between us," Helme told journalists. "We found that both of us have perhaps been a bit emotional at times. We buried the hatchet. We have such big goals to accomplish."

Estonia's eastern border must be built and an internal security reserve must be established, he cited as examples. "Today, right this second, we have the matter of cannabis on the table," he continued. "We have a whole slew of other topics that fall under the area of the PPA — strengthening border security, the migration issue — that we don't have much wiggle room, so we decided to bury the hatchet, shake hands and move forward together."

Vaher, in turn, stressed the fact that professional peace is very important to the PPA.

"A police officer's work requires them to have the courage to make their own decisions and plan their further actions," he told the press. "The budget is always an instrument of the job for the director general of the PPA. The Ministry of the Interior has asked, we have provided our input regarding what areas we see for potential cuts. These discussions still lie ahead this fall."

The PPA chief likewise noted that he would continue working together with the interior minister in target-based cooperation.

Asked by journalists whether both parties now trust one another, Helme responded that if that weren't the case, they couldn't move forward together. "We straightened things out; we spoke very frankly," he added.

Asked whether Helme would be taking back what he said, including that Vaher had stabbed him in the back and worked against the interior minister, Helme responded that these wounds had healed. Nobody apologized before anyone else, he added.

"I have had the opportunity to work with five interior ministers, and each of them has had their own style," Vaher noted. "Today I understood [Helme's] style a bit better. And just as Mart Helme said, trust is also based on us having to speak more often." It was a lack of communication that led them to dispute, he added.

"Today we got together, we were able to talk, and I hope that this will continue going forward as well," he noted.

The police chief added that he has supported the internal security reserve being established by Helme right from the start.

Helme noted that he and Vaher are scheduled to inspect Estonia's eastern border together via helicopter on Friday.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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