Politics

Estonia-Finland investment treaty on way to being canned after EU pressure

26.02.21 NEWS ... A bill terminating a bilateral investment treaty with Finland has passed its first Riigkogu reading. The treaty would have likely infringed European Union law, in treating some member states (i.e. Finland and Estonia) differently from the remainder.

Friday sees centennial of Estonian-Romanian diplomatic relations

26.02.21 NEWS ... 100 years since the establishment of diplomatic ties with Romania is being marked Friday, the anniversary of Romania's recognition of Estonian independence de jure, the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs says.

Agriculture support to be increased by over 30 percent

26.02.21 NEWS ... The government will boost extraordinary support for agriculture by €3.8 million in response to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the sector. Applicants will be able to start filing their requests mid-March, and the move follows a relaxation of the European Union's state aid framework.

Diplomat: Let us discuss closing embassies in far away lands

26.02.21 POLITICS ... Former foreign ministry secretary-general and current European Union Ambassador to Ukraine Matti Maasikas is calling for "critical and immediate" discussions about closing embassies in lands far away from Estonia to strengthen the diplomatic presence near more important allies.

Reform not willing to speculate on Ratas' chances of presidency yet

26.02.21 POLITICS ... Reform Party politicians did not wish to comment on statements made by EKRE chairman Martin Helme, who said previous prime minister and Center Party chairman Jüri Ratas would be suitable as the next president of Estonia.

EKRE chairman: I believe Jüri Ratas would be suitable next president

26.02.21 NEWS ... Chairman of the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) Martin Helme, whose party is in the opposition after the Jüri Ratas' (Center) government collapsed, told Kroonika magazine (link in Estonian) that in his opinion, Jüri Ratas would be well-suited to be president.

Kallas: Coronavirus vaccine manufacturers must fulfil obligations

26.02.21 NEWS ... Coronavirus vaccine manufacturers must fulfil their obligations and the EU needs to speed up vaccinations and coordinate restrictions, Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) said at a European Council video meeting on Thursday.

Graduating basic school not contingent on exam results this academic year

25.02.21 NEWS ... Graduating from basic school (Põhikool) – the mandatory years of study in Estonia – will not be contingent on exam results for the 2020/2021 academic year, the government has announced.

Helme: Estonia could negotiate with vaccine manufacturers directly

25.02.21 NEWS ... Chairman of the opposition Conservative People's Party (EKRE) Martin Helme finds that Estonia could procure vaccines straight from the market and pay more for them. Talking about new coronavirus restrictions, Helme pointed out that shopping malls were allowed to remain open because the Reform Party is reluctant to compensate traders for lost revenue.

Government sets aside over €620,000 for Remdesivir coronavirus drug

25.02.21 NEWS ... The government has granted €621,000 for the purchase of stocks of United States-made anti-viral drug Remdesivir, for use in combating the most serious cases of COVID-19. Remdesivir has met with concerns in some quarters over its use.

Riigikogu speaker: Current government discussing 'traitorous' border treaty

24.02.21 NEWS ... Riigikogu speaker Henn Põlluaas (EKRE) gave the customary independence day speech at Wednesday morning's Toompea flag-raising ceremony.

Former prime minister not running for president

23.02.21 NEWS ... Former Prime Minister and member of the European Parliament Andrus Ansip (Reform) said he should not be connected to speculation about the presidential elections taking place in autumn.

Minister: EU unity on Russia sanctions a good thing, needs to continue

23.02.21 NEWS ... Foreign minister Eva-Maria Liimets says that the European Union needs to continue to present a united front in drawing up sanctions on the Russian Federation, in the aftermath of the imprisonment of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, and a crackdown on protests in that country.

Prime Minister: Getting virus under control responsibility of us all

22.02.21 OPINION ... The coronavirus epidemiological situation is grave, the virus is still highly potent and it is propagating widely, Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) told the Riigikogu Monday, ahead of the national holiday marking independence day on February 24, and on the same day a new round of restrictions came into force. While stress and fatigue with restrictions arae on the up, over time, there is more reason to be hopeful than before, she added, in the speech which follows in its entirety.

Former prosecutor general joins Isamaa

22.02.21 NEWS ... Former prosecutor general Lavly Perling has officially joined the opposition Isamaa party.

Ratings: Kaja Kallas most preferred government leader

22.02.21 NEWS ... A market research public opinion survey ordered by daily newspaper Eesti Päevaleht (EPL) reveals that among citizens of voting age, the Reform Party's chairwoman Kaja Kallas is now the preferred government leader, in addition to being the actual prime minister since last month. The gap is not especially wide, however, and the coming weeks may clarify matters, compilers of the research say.

Samost and Sildam: Has Center lost touch with Ida-Viru County

21.02.21 NEWS ... ERR journalists Anvar Samost and Toomas Sildam found in their Sunday "Samost ja Sildam" talk show that one reason the Center Party is losing supporters could be falling out of touch with Ida-Viru County moods.

'Olukorrast riigis' expects enterprise support measures from government

21.02.21 NEWS ... Journalists Hindrek Riikoja and Indrek Lepik criticized Prime Minister Kaja Kallas for failure to announce any enterprise support measures in a situation where the government has ordered stricter coronavirus restrictions on the Raadio 2 "Olukorrast riigis" talk show.

Center Party sees support rise in Ida-Viru County

20.02.21 NEWS ... While support for the Center Party has declined in Estonia overall according to recent polling, the party has seen its rating rise in Ida-Viru County.

Former ministry adviser ordered to not leave home longer than three days

19.02.21 NEWS ... A former adviser to Martin Helme (EKRE) has been hit with a one-year virtual house arrest after being released from prison earlier in the week. Kersti Kracht, who was Helme's adviser while he was finance minister in the last administration, was involved in the corruption scandal centered on a Tallinn property development, which prompted the resignation of Jüri Ratas as prime minister last month.

Riigikogu group issues condolence statement on Khojaly massacre anniversary

19.02.21 NEWS ... The Estonia-Azerbaijan Riigikogu group has issued a statement expressing its condolences to the nation of Azerbaijan ahead of the 29th anniversary of the Khojaly massacre.

Finland premier tells Estonia counterpart travel restrictions may soon ease

19.02.21 NEWS ... Finland may relax entry to Estonians if mandatory coronavirus testing at the border is introduced, Finnish prime minister Sanna Marin said on Friday.

Analysis: The Tartu Peace Treaty and Estonia's Eastern Border

19.02.21 OPINION ... In terms of foreign policy, it would benefit Estonia to have a border agreement with Russia because a working border treaty is better than no treaty at all, writes the International Center for Defense and Security's research fellow Kalev Stoicescu.

Government amends relocation rules for top specialists' families

19.02.21 NEWS ... The government will amend the law to allow families of top specialists from third countries working in IT or at a startup to relocate faster.

Ratings: Center's support falls to lowest in recent years

19.02.21 POLITICS ... After losing the prime minister chair in January, the now-coalition Center Party has seen their support dwindling, falling to 17 percent in a recent survey conducted by pollster Turu-uuringute AS.

Government agrees to terminate agreement with Freeh, Sporkin & Sullivan

19.02.21 NEWS ... The government agreed on Thursday (February 18) to terminate the €3 million legal advisor contract agreement with US law firm Freeh Sporkin & Sullivan LLP. The Estonian prosecutor's office will now take the lead in money laundering investigations.

Russia, Estonia expel diplomats

19.02.21 NEWS ... Russia said on Thursday (February 18) it will expel an Estonian diplomat after Estonia asked a Russian embassy official to leave the country. The Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has not commented on the situation.

EKRE to block ratification of Estonian-Russian border treaty

18.02.21 NEWS ... The opposition Estonian Conservative People's Party (EKRE) announced on Thursday that when the new government coalition puts the border treaty between Estonia and Russia before the parliament for ratification, EKRE will prevent its ratification by all legitimate means.

Embassy protests foreign intelligence service report China coverage

18.02.21 NEWS ... The Embassy of the People's Republic of China in Tallinn has expressed its concern over information on China published in the recent Foreign Intelligence Service (Välisluuramet) annual report, saying that it traduces the country and can mislead the public.

Mikk Marran: 2021 to be more violent than usual in Russia

18.02.21 INTERVIEWS ... The Estonian Foreign Intelligence Service (EFIS) finds in its yearbook that the six months left until State Duma elections in Russia will be politically hot and more violent than usual, Director Mikk Marran tells ERR in an interview.

Foreign minister: We can initiate ratifying Estonia-Russia border treaty

18.02.21 NEWS ... Minister of Foreign Affairs Eva-Maria Liimets (Center) said Estonia should take the first step in ratifying the Estonian-Russian border treaty.

Jüri Ratas: I have been among the greatest supporters of EKRE voters

17.02.21 INTERVIEWS ... Chairman of the Center Party Jüri Ratas ran two very different governments between November 2016 and January 2021 and admits that coalitions have never been happy marriages in Estonian politics. That said, Ratas claims he has always been on the side of Conservative People's Party (EKRE) voters to support ideas the national conservatives have introduced. Talking about his close ally Mailis Reps, Ratas finds that perhaps Estonia should decide that a minister having someone to help with everyday chores is no bad thing.

Russian embassy: Change of Estonian government not led to thaw in relations

17.02.21 NEWS ... The Russian Embassy in Tallinn has said the new Estonian government does not so far seem to want to improve relations with Moscow.

Portal: Prime minister to scrap controversial US lawyer deal

17.02.21 NEWS ... Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) says that a controversial agreement between the Estonian state and a US lawyer and former FBI chief inked last year will be terminated, news agency Bloomberg reports.

Party Ratings: Reform and EKRE support continues to rise, Center's falling

17.02.21 NEWS ... Support for the coalition Reform Party, as well as for the opposition Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) has risen this week, according to a recent opinion poll, while support for the Center Party, also in office, as well as for most other political parties, has fallen. The gap in support between Center and EKRE is now less than one percentage point, Norstat says.

EKRE tables bill aimed at raising age of consent to 16

16.02.21 NEWS ... Opposition party the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) has tabled a bill which would make penalties for sexual offenses against minors more stringent, and also raise the age of consent to 16 years. The current age of consent is 14.

Party ratings: Reform, EKRE support rises, most other parties' falls

16.02.21 NEWS ... Support for the coalition Reform Party and the opposition Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) have both risen, according to a recent opinion poll, while the Center Party, in office with Reform, has seen a fall in support.

Toomas Hendrik Ilves: Trump impeachment vote illustrates Republicans' split

16.02.21 NEWS ... The fact that several Republican Senators voted in favor of impeaching former United States President Donald Trump at last Saturday's vote in Washington demonstrates just how divided the party is right now, former Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves says.

Estonia's EU plastics tax bill comes to €23.6 million for 2021

16.02.21 NEWS ... Estonia's European Union non-recycled plastics tax bill come to €23.6 million this year, ERR reports, though some experts say that Estonia pays considerably more than it should do in proportion to its size and wealth. The tax proved unpopular with the former Center/EKRE/Isamaa coalition when it was introduced last year.

Opinion: Ratas resigned but a month ago, yet time hardly on Kallas' side

15.02.21 OPINION ... It is only a month since Jüri Ratas announced his resignation as prime minister, and with it the end of the Center/EKRE/Isamaa coalition, and the start of the process for forming a new government, ERR senior journalist Toomas Sildam writes. However, time is not on Kallas' side, Sildam continues, with the next parliamentary elections due in two years' time and the pandemic ongoing, even as Kallas may have thought from the outset that her way of doing things would be very different from her predecessor's.

Helme: EKRE must be a clear alternative to the current government

13.02.21 NEWS ... EKRE must be a clear alternative to the current government, chairman of EKRE Martin Helme said on Saturday at an EKRE council meeting in Türi, Järva County.

TULE party requesting state funding

12.02.21 NEWS ... The leader of the Estonian Party for the Future (TULE) political party is requesting €30,000 in state funding from the minister of interior to help support the organization.

Siim Kallas elected Riigikogu EU affairs committee chair

12.02.21 NEWS ... Siim Kallas (Reform) has been elected chair of the Riigikogu's European Union Committee.

2020 tax take exceeded forecasts made at start of pandemic

12.02.21 NEWS ... Data released by the finance ministry and tax authority reveal 2020, despite being a pandemic year, did not see as severe an economic decline by the end of the year as had been forecast when the coronavirus first arrived in spring, at least as far as tax receipts go. Labor tax and also fuel excise duties – despite a cut in diesel duties – were the major drivers, and the overall tax take fell less than 3 percent between 2019 and 2020.

Social Democrats looking to fix low ratings

12.02.21 NEWS ... On Wednesday, polling by Norstat showed the level of support for the Social Democratic Party is at a two-year low of 6.2 percent. But what can be done to increase their ratings with the public? ERR's Estonian portal interviewed senior party members to see what the next steps will be.

Government approves plan for 100 days in office

11.02.21 NEWS ... The Estonian government on Thursday approved its plan of actions for the first 100 days in office. The most important task is exiting the coronavirus crisis.

Isamaa's Parempoolsed founder: Isamaa leadership needs change

11.02.21 POLITICS ... Tõnis Kons, the initator of the Parempoolsed (Right-wingers) association formed within the Isamaa Party, said the party's leadership should be rearranged and the association would present their own nominee for the upcoming party board elections.

Jüri Ratas: A ban on parties receiving private person donations possible

11.02.21 POLITICS ... Center Party chairman and previous prime minister Jüri Ratas said a discussion on parties receiving finances needed for their activities from the state budget could be started in the Riigikogu, eliminating the possibility of private persons donating to parties.

Justice minister dismisses Perling from Prosecutor's Office

11.02.21 NEWS ... Minister of Justice Maris Lauri (Reform) dismissed Prosecutor General Lavly Perling from office on Thursday (February 11). Perling's work was suspended in October 2020.

Justice minister: Coalition will proceed with hate speech legislation

11.02.21 NEWS ... The Minister of Justice Maris Lauri (Reform) said that the government is planning to add the criminalization of hate speech to the Riigikogu's agenda.
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