Kallas would be only candidate for Reform Party chair this November

21.09.23 NEWS ... Prime Minister and incumbent Kaja Kallas would likely be the only candidate for chair of the coalition Reform Party at its general assembly this November, as her three potential opponents have said that they don't intend to run.

Government borrowing requirement for 2024 will be €1.16 billion

21.09.23 NEWS ... Government members were tight-lipped on the 2024 state budget, agreed in principle earlier this week, though they did reveal that next year's budget deficit will run at 2.8 percent of GDP – which translates to a borrowing requirement of €1.16 billion.

Narva 'mass war grave' confirmed devoid of human remains

21.09.23 NEWS ... No human remains were found at the site of a purported mass war grave in the eastern Estonian border town of Narva, an excavation revealed.

Justice chancellor: No legal aid required to write to our office

21.09.23 NEWS ... The office of the chancellor of justice is always open to hearing about matters which affect people, including and especially those relating to kindergarten and school places, Ülle Madise, the current office-holder, says.

Senior defense figure quits Center Party over security concerns

21.09.23 NEWS ... A senior reserve army officer and former NATO official has stepped down from the Center Party following the election of Mayor of Tallinn Mihhail Kõlvart as leader.

Polish and Baltic presidents meet to seek solution to Ukrainian grain issue

21.09.23 NEWS ... At the UN General Assembly, a meeting was held involving the presidents of the Baltic countries and Poland. The meeting focused on ways to find solutions to the issues related to Ukrainian grain transportation, as well as on the NATO summit, which will be held in Washington D.C. in 2024.

Prime minister: Main taxation criticism has revolved around lack of debate

21.09.23 NEWS ... While the coalition has received much criticism over an apparent lack of dialogue over proposed new taxes, there is time until July next year to both have that discussion and to find means of making budgetary expense for the following year, Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) says.

Norstat survey: Dissatisfaction with coalition at a two-year high

21.09.23 NEWS ... Based on the latest results from a survey conducted by pollsters Norstat, 62 percent of people think that the current Reform-Eesti 200-SDE government is performing poorly, while 64 percent do not approve of the prime minister's job performance.

Kersna: You have to stand up for your people, but only to a certain point

20.09.23 NEWS ... Liina Kersna (Reform), former minister of education and current member of the Riigikogu, commented in the podcast "Otse uudistemajast" on the party's stance towards scandal-hit Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform): "You have to stand up for your people, but at some point, standing up for them can start to work against them."

Finance minister: We want longer discussion on car tax

20.09.23 NEWS ... The Minister of Finance Mart Võrklaev (Reform) said that the implementation of the car tax was delayed to enable for a more in-depth, broad discussion.

Isamaa leader slams coalition's pact with the major banks

20.09.23 NEWS ... Isamaa chair Urmas Reinsalu says Tuesday's between the coalition and the mostly foreign-owned banks in Estonia will clearly harm the Estonian economy further and take revenues out of the country.

'Esimene stuudio': Coalition wants tax debate within society

20.09.23 NEWS ... The 2024 state budget, which the prime minister announced Tuesday afternoon is now ready for processing at the legislature, includes a broad-based national defense tax component, which will be covered in 2025 by the leftovers from the "empty" €400-million budget entry.

Senior official Heidi Alasepp leaves social affairs ministry

20.09.23 NEWS ... Differences of opinion with colleagues led to the resignation of a deputy secretary general at the Ministry of Social Affairs who had become quite prominent during the Covid pandemic.

Party ratings: Isamaa's support continues to rise

20.09.23 NEWS ... Opposition party Isamaa has continued to see its support grow, now reaching a high for the past four-and-a-half years, according to one recent poll. Meanwhile, coalition party Eesti 200's support is at a near four-year low, the same poll finds.

Riigikogu deputy speaker: Opposition hearings only processed Mondays

20.09.23 NEWS ... The Riigikogu's board organizes the weekly work schedule at parliament so that hearings on interpellations and bills submitted by the opposition can only be processed on Monday's, Deputy Speaker Toomas Kivimägi (Reform) says.

Bank of Estonia opposes government plan for more relaxed budgetary regime

20.09.23 NEWS ... The Bank of Estonia (Eesti Pank) is not in favor of a government plan to replace Estonia's self-imposed budgetary discipline regime with the European Union's less strict rules, ETV news show "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK) reported Tuesday.

Minister: Next year's state budget deficit will run at 2.8 percent of GDP

20.09.23 NEWS ... The 2024 state budget will see a deficit of 2.8 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), Minister of Finance Mart Võrklaev (Reform) said Tuesday.

Mart Laar: Pummeling by taxes has brought Estonian economy to its knees

19.09.23 NEWS ... Mart Laar, former prime minister and long-time leader of the forerunner to day's Isamaa, and as such synonymous with the flat rate approach to taxation, told ERR that, instead of focusing on science and research, the government could cut down on bureaucracy in state institutions and leave business be.

Ministry leaves just two days for state budget law amendment approval

19.09.23 NEWS ... A draft amendment to the State Budget Act is being expedited by the Ministry of Finance which would significantly relax budgetary rules set by Estonia in respect of moving towards a balanced budget.

Ministry opposes abolishing retained profits corporate tax zero rate

19.09.23 NEWS ... Both the Ministry and Finance and the main business lobby group in Estonia are of a mind that even if it were to bring in additional revenues to the state, abolishing the current corporate tax exemption for retained company earnings would do more harm than good to the economy, and consequently the state budget.

Climate ministry sticking with plan to build 'environmental house'

19.09.23 NEWS ... A plan to build a seaside wooden "environmental house" (Keskkonnamaja) in Tallinn's Kalamaja district remains alive, several years after it first appeared. The building would be a showpiece example of Estonian wooden-building know-how and would house state agencies in the relevant fields.

SDE leader: Key issues needing resolving before state budget can go ahead

19.09.23 NEWS ... The coalition Social Democratic Party (SDE) stands for the funding of education, party leader and Interior Minister Lauri Läänemets says, adding that until there is substantive agreement on a few final key areas between his party and its coalition partners, Reform and Eesti 200, it will be difficult to finalize the 2024 state budget.

Daily: Jaan Toots may be next Narva mayor

19.09.23 NEWS ... Center Party Vice-Chair Jaan Toots has been tipped as a potential new mayor of the eastern Estonian city of Narva, regional daily Põhjarannik writes.

Call for Riigikogu investigative committee left off this week's agenda

19.09.23 NEWS ... While a proposal aimed at setting up a dedicated investigative committee which would look at business activities involving the spouse of Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) was filed in time last week, this week's Riigikogu agenda had been finalized by that time, and so the item was not included, Deputy Riigikogu Speaker Toomas Kivimägi (Reform) says.

Riigikogu votes to revoke EKRE MP Kingo's parliamentary immunity

18.09.23 NEWS ... On Monday, the Riigikogu, following a proposal by Chancellor of Justice Ülle Madise, voted to revoke EKRE MP Kert Kingo's parliamentary immunity in order to continue legal proceedings against her.

Estonian PM refuses to provide more documents to Riigikogu select committee

18.09.23 NEWS ... Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) said that since her trust has been breached, she will no longer submit documents to the Anti-Corruption Select Committee of the Riigikogu. According to Kallas, the commission is conducting a political trial of its own against her.

Riigikogu to debate potential removal of EKRE MP's parliamentary immunity

18.09.23 NEWS ... On Monday, Estonian Chancellor of Justice Ülle Madise is set to make a proposal to the Riigikogu for the withdrawal of EKRE MP Kert Kingo's parliamentary immunity and the continuation of legal proceedings against her. Kingo herself will also make her own presentation before the Riigikogu regarding the matter.

Narva City Council dismisses Mayor Katri Raik

16.09.23 NEWS ... Narva City Council decided to vote no confidence in Mayor Katri Raik (SDE) at an extraordinary session on Saturday.

Jaanus Karilaid joins national-conservative Isamaa

16.09.23 NEWS ... The former deputy chair of the Center Party, Jaanus Karilaid, who promised before the Center Party leadership election that he would leave the party if Mihhail Kõlvart won, announced on Saturday that he had decided to join the national-conservative Isamaa.

Mayor Katri Raik: I'm not leaving politics or Narva

15.09.23 NEWS ... Saturday is likely to see the vote of no confidence against Narva mayor Katri Raik (SDE) succeed. Raik already has a new job in Narva, but she intends to return to city administration as soon as possible.

Ossinovski: Fewer opponents of special tax on banks

15.09.23 NEWS ... During state budget discussions, opposition to the extraordinary tax on bank profits has decreased, according to Social Democrat Jevgeni Ossinovski. He said that amendments to the state budget basic legislation were also under consideration.

Around 40 people have left Center Party since Kõlvart election

15.09.23 NEWS ... Around 40 people have left the Center Party in the wake of the election of Mayor of Tallinn Mihhail Kõlvart as new party leader last Sunday.

Minister: Environmental fees hike in reality a revenue-raising effort

15.09.23 NEWS ... The expedited procedure for hiking the rate of environmental fees suggests that this is not a bill which contributes to environmental and climate goals, but instead a fiscal policy bill, one whose preparation did not involve entrepreneurs, Minister of IT and Economic Affairs Tiit Riisalo (Eesti 200) says.

Justice minister: Estonia terminating legal assistance pact with Russia

15.09.23 NEWS ... Estonia is to terminate a legal assistance agreement it has with the Russian Federation, Minister of Justice Kalle Laanet (Reform) says.

Survey: 69 percent believe Kaja Kallas should resign as prime minister

15.09.23 NEWS ... Sixty-nine percent of respondents to a recent survey said they thought Kaja Kallas should step down as prime minister, in the wake of controversy over her husband's business activities, and the extent to which she was aware of them.

Day one of state budget talks kicked-off with the 'simpler' matters

15.09.23 NEWS ... Day one of the 2024 state budget talks started off with the simpler questions, mostly revolving around individual ministers' plans for cuts, along with their concerns, ETV news show "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK) reported Thursday.

Gallery: Government ministers gather at Vihula manor for state budget talks

15.09.23 NEWS ... The restful surroundings of the Vihula Manor Country Club and Spa in Lääne-Viru County were the scene of day one of a two-day cabinet session, which will hammer out the 2024 state budget.

Tsahkna: Vihula budget talks unlikely to result in popular decisions

14.09.23 NEWS ... Minister of Foreign Affairs Margus Tsahkna (Eesti 200) said that no popular state budget decisions are expected to be made at the Vihula meeting. The Foreign Ministry has identified up to €1.4 million in savings.

Search for cuts means coalition may ease self-imposed state budget rules

14.09.23 NEWS ... Coalition politicians do not rule relaxing or otherwise changing state budget regulations they set for themselves during the coalition negotiations in spring, given the changed budgetary and economic situation compared with that forecast at the time, and the new-found need to make cuts of €200 million next year.

Foreign service, not ISS gave Kallas classified foreign intel clearance

14.09.23 NEWS ... While the Internal Security Service (ISS) conducted its first and only security clearance check on Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) ahead of her ascending to that post in early 2021, it was another authority, the Foreign Intelligence Service (Välisluureamet).

Kallas: Human error behind €350,000 loan 2022 interests declaration absence

14.09.23 NEWS ... A €350,000 loan the prime minister gave to a company owned by her spouse did not end up in last year's declaration of financial interests as a result of human error, the prime minister says.

Mihhail Kõlvart: Every person who leaves the Center Party is a big problem

14.09.23 NEWS ... While Center members leaving the party is a serious problem, time is needed to allow tensions to dissipate, new party leader Mihhail Kõlvart says.

Government to discuss €200-million state budget hole at out-of-town session

14.09.23 NEWS ... The government is to meet at an out-of-town session today, Thursday, in order to discuss next year's state budget and state budget strategy. The finance minister has called for finding €200 million in cuts or via revenue sources, for the forthcoming 2024 state budget.

Amendment to electoral law raises fears over impartiality

14.09.23 NEWS ... According to the amendments to the law governing Riigikogu elections as drawn up by the Ministry of Justice, the government would have more say in the organization of e-voting, which could raise doubts about the fairness of the elections. Justice Minister Kalle Laanet (Reform) rejects these claims.

Government bill would reduce Riigikogu say over emergency cash reserve

14.09.23 NEWS ... Finance Minister Mart Võrklaev (Reform) on Tuesday sent for a three-day coordination round a draft bill which, were it to pass into law, will temporarily find extra sources of funding for the state, but at the expense of the legislature's options in having a say on making payments towards unexpected expenses.

Surveys: Support for Kaja Kallas as prime minister falls

14.09.23 NEWS ... Support for Kaja Kallas as prime minister has fallen to its lowest point of the year so far, according to a recent survey. Former Center Party leader Jüri Ratas polled ahead of her in the same survey, while the leaders of the other two opposition parties placed third and fourth.

Day one of Russian vehicles entry ban into Estonia passes off peacefully

14.09.23 NEWS ... The first day following a ban on Russian vehicles entry into Estonia passed relatively calmly at the Narva border checkpoint, ETV news show "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK) reported, with vehicles bearing Russian license plates only seen leaving the country.

Latvia's prime minister-in-waiting announces ministerial line-up

13.09.23 NEWS ... Latvia's prime ministerial candidate, Evika Siliņa, on Wednesday officially unveiled the provisional division of ministerial portfolios in her administration, public broadcaster LSM reports. That coalition will be subject to a vote at the Saeima, the Latvian parliament, later this week.

Tallinn to build three new schools, six kindergartens by 2027

13.09.23 NEWS ... The City of Tallinn says it aims to build three new schools and a further five kindergartens in the next four years.

Center vice-chair: No more than around 50 members will quit the party

13.09.23 NEWS ... The election of a new party leader is always followed by an exodus of members, Center Party Vice-Chair Jaan Toots says, and last weekend's election of Mayor of Tallinn Mihhail Kõlvart, to replace Jüri Ratas, whose term ended, is no exception.
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