What the papers say: IT minister's Huawei phone, pensions, Christmas trees

Estonian dailies (picture is illustrative).
Estonian dailies (picture is illustrative). Source: ERR

On Tuesday, Sept. 24 the papers were discussing pension increases, a TV interview with IT minister Kert Kingo, and the hunt for Tallinn's next Christmas tree.

All links in Estonian, unless otherwise stated.

IT Minister uses Huawei phone for work

Speaking on TV3's series "Laser", IT and foreign Trade Minister Kert Kingo (EKRE) said that her work phone was a Chinese made Huawei and that she does not use two-factor authentication, daily newspaper Postimees reported. The brand has been linked to the Chinese government and is not seen as safe by security experts.

The minister said this was acceptable because she did not have "secret data" on her phone, although she did say she read her work emails on her mobile. She also said she did not use two-factor authentication but did have anti-virus software installed.

Website ärileht.ee also wrote-up the Kingo's interview saying last year the state information system agency, RIA, had said it did not recommend that officials use Huawei technology. It reported her reason for not using two-factor authentication was that it had been criticised by many people for not being safe enough.

ärileht.ee also reported the minister saying the state is looking into developing artificial intelligence, and that start-up companies should be regulated and have a time limit to their special status.

Startups are just normal companies

In response to Kingo's interview, online portal Geenius asked head of the Estonian Startup Leaders Club Sten Tamkivi for his opinion on the minister's comments, who said that start-ups do not have a special status in law.

"In fact, this is simply a completely non-legal definition used by a community of start-up, global ambition and high-growth technology companies. For the state, our start-ups are still just ordinary companies. We obey the law, hire people, pay good wages and pay taxes. When we raise capital from investors or sell our products-services, it is about 90 percent export, ie we bring a whole new amount of money to the Estonian economy from abroad," he said.

€7 pension increase

All of Tuesday's papers reported the government's extraordinary €7 increase in pensions spending. For more information see ERR News article here.

An editorial from newspaper Eesti Päevaleht called the €7 increase "shamefully low" but "better than nothing" and a token gesture to make sure their pre-election promise had not been completely broken. The paper also questioned whether the money could have been better spent elsewhere and said that many other people such as rescue workers, teachers, researchers, and people in care homes also needed the money.

Newspaper Postimees argued the government had done nothing wrong as they had not promised to raise pensions by €100 all at once, or extraordinarily, but over the course of their coalition term.

Õhtulet suggested things pensioners could buy with their extra €7 a month. These included 14 liters of milk, a Hesburger megaburger meal, and a pensioner's ticket to Tallinn zoo.

The newspaper also ran an opinion article from former Centre Party MP and now independent MP, Raimond Kaljulaid who resigned after Centre formed a coalition with EKRE. He said the idea of the additional €100 increase arose from a misunderstanding, that then became an election pledge. "The elderly in Estonia certainly deserve to have their pension increased not by seven euros, but much more," he said.

EasyJet closes two routes from Tallinn

Delfi reported that EasyJet will close its Tallinn to Berlin and Tallinn to Milan routes from November, the airline will now only operate it's Tallinn to London line. It will still be possible to fly to these destinations with Air Baltic and RyanAir. This follows the news that WizzAir will close it's Tallinn to London flight, the website reported earlier this month.

Tallinn starts search for Christmas tree

Newspaper Maaleht reported that, even though it is only September, the search for a Christmas tree for Tallinn's Old Town has begun. The paper specifies it must be at least 15 meters high, evenly spruced, no further than 150km from the capital and not close to any powerlines. Last year the tree was taken from Kibuvitsa Street in Tallinn's Kristiine district. The tree will be put up on Nov. 7.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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