27.10.20 ... Deputy chairman of Center Party's Riigikogu political group and member of the constitutional committee Andrei Korobeinik told ERR that he does not see controversial questions posed as public opinion as a bad thing, but he hopes that society will not support defining marriage in the constitution, if the coalition's initative to do so were to reach the public via a planned referendum.
25.10.20 ... Chairman of the Conservative People's Party (EKRE) Martin Helme answered the questions of journalist Arp Müller on Vikerraadio's "Uudis+" program on the upcoming marriage referendum and Mart Helme's (EKRE) comment aimed at sexual minorities from a week ago. Helme sees no reason to apologize to the latter.
24.10.20 ... CEO of the Tartu 2024 Foundation Priit Mikk's job is to steer and shape the winning vision for Estonia's second European Capital of Culture in four years time. He told ERR News what's happened since the city clinched the title and what comes next.
21.10.20 ... Chairman of the coalition Isamaa party Helir-Valdor Seeder told the "Esimene stuudio" political talk show in an interview that things are tense in the coalition and there is no good feeling of cooperation, while the tone of the dispute has become friendlier and the sides want to move forward.
16.10.20 ... Former prime minister and current Reform Party MP Taavi Rõivas told ERR in an interview that he has climbed his political heights and has reason to be satisfied with his time in politics. Rõivas is not planning to leave the party, while he will not be running for its boards or the Tallinn city council in the future.
08.10.20 ... "Of course, we want to rock our socks off," entrepreneur Kristjan Vanaselja who was elected chairman of Isamaa's Parempoolsed (Right-wingers) group says. "Darn it, we are spurred on by the degenerate situation Estonia finds itself in." Vanaselja dreams of an Isamaa which has a support rating of 20 percent instead of 5 percent. Read the group's manifesto here.
27.09.20 ... Estonian investment banker Ragnar Meitern who according the Minister of Finance Martin Helme (EKRE) was the first person to contact Louis Freeh's law firm and is now working in his team told ERR that he sees no conflict of interest in his work and was not part of the decision to pick Freeh Sporkin & Sullivan to represent Estonia.
25.09.20 ... Estonia could do with a single vocational school. Let us only recruit the foreign students Estonia needs. The Reform Party fell victim to a coup. Segregation also down to a particular attitude among Estonians. The tallest minister of any Estonian government (198 centimeters), former education and defense minister, former University of Tartu and Tallinn University of Technology rector Jaak Aaviksoo (66) gives an interview.
15.09.20 ... Opposition leader, chairman of the Reform Party Kaja Kallas tested the waters for a new potential coalition during the summer. The results came back negative. However, she believes that presidential elections in 2021 could have an unpleasant surprise in store for the government.
12.09.20 ... The competitive situation between public and private media in Estonia, far from being stifled, is among the healthiest in the world, says ERR management board chair Erik Roose – who has worked in both sectors. ERR News caught up with Roose after an organization representing private media service providers in Estonia announced plans to take a complaint to the European Commission over what it sees as unfair competition on the part of the public broadcaster, particularly with regard to its online news
12.09.20 ... The news that the Estonian Association of Media Enterprises (EML) is planning to take its complaint over public broadcaster ERR to European Commission level has raised many questions over the exact role and nature of any public broadcaster and how that fits in with the private sector.
09.09.20 ... Chairman of the Social Democratic Party (SDE) Indrek Saar tells ERR in an interview that the state budget should prioritize support for digital and green technologies and investments that could help Estonia repay loans down the line. Saar is skeptical of the finance ministry's economic forecast.
09.09.20 ... Chairman of the opposition Reform Party Kaja Kallas tells ERR in an interview that she does not see the benefit in extending salary support instruments. She believes enterprise should be supported using targeted measures, such as Minister of Finance Martin Helme's (EKRE) tourism vouchers idea.
08.09.20 ... Russian chemist Vil Mirzayanov who now lives in the U.S. and was directly involved with developing the Novichok nerve toxin tells ERR in an interview that the aim was not to kill Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny but rather maim him for life – a fate he describes as far worse than death.
06.09.20 ... Former prime minister Mart Laar (Isamaa) finds that while the government's borrowing was justified, it should dial back the state apparatus heading into state budget talks. Laar does not plan to join Isamaa's Parempoolsed (Right-wingers) group, nor does he support the planned marriage referendum as he says Estonia has more pressing issues to worry about.
03.09.20 ... Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu told ERR that the Latvian government could lay down a two-week quarantine requirement for people traveling from Estonia to Latvia. According to Reinsalu, this would negatively impact Estonians traveling to Latvia as well as tourism from Latvia.
01.09.20 ... MEP and former foreign minister Urmas Paet is pessimistic when talking about Belarus. Lukashenko will not change, he says, adding that Russia views Belarus as a tiny model of itself where a disgruntled people simply cannot be allowed to bring about a change of leadership through protests.
28.08.20 ... Defense lawyer for outgoing National Opera Estonia head Aivar Mäe, sworn advocate Paul Keres, told ERR Friday that had Mäe decided to continue at the helm of the theater, he would not have been able to escape the effects of the Eesti Ekspress article and accusations of sexual harassment made therein.
25.08.20 ... MEP Yana Toom (Center) told ERR that Estonia rushed its decision to not recognize the results of recent elections in Belarus, giving long-time president Alexander Lukashenko his sixth term.
23.08.20 ... Over the past 24 hours, 21 people were diagnosed with COVID-19 in Estonia. While the Health Board is unable to track down the source of infection for every tenth patient, the agency's acting head Mari-Anne Härma told "Aktuaalne kaamera" in an interview that the situation will become critical if the source of half of infections cannot be determined.
22.08.20 ... Governor of the Bank of Estonia Madis Müller tells Indrek Kiisler in an interview that the government should maintain moderation in its spending, meaning that while Estonia cannot escape fiscal deficit in 2021, fiscal balance should be the target for 2022. Müller also admits that Estonia has high consumer credit interest rates.
02.08.20 ... Ian Gustav Ahlberg is the first Estonian to be nominated for a British LGBT Award, and has been recognised for his leadership skills promoting the voices of the Financial Times' LGBTQ+ community. ERR News caught up with Ahlberg last month to discuss his life, work and the differences between LGBTQ+ rights in the U.K. and Estonia.
22.07.20 ... Minister of Finance Martin Helme (EKRE) told ERR that Estonia can be largely satisfied with the result of the Special European Council, while there are also things that are less positive from the country's perspective.
21.07.20 ... She was the most popular candidate at the 2016 presidential elections but did not become president. Will she run again? Next, she won the European Parliament elections and now spends a lot of time in Brussels. Marina Kaljurand – a person with a friendly smile, open demeanor and often direct utterances – hosts ERR at her summer home in Hiiumaa. Has she gone from being on top to being a dot?
19.07.20 ... Estonian National Television (ETV) is turning 65 today (July 19) and ERR News celebrated the occasion by interviewing the legendary director and producer Jüri Pihel.
11.07.20 ... In an interview with e-Residency director Ott Vatter, ERR journalist Toomas Sildam read the Internal Security Service's (Kapo) annual yearbook and learned that e-Residency is directing less of its search for new e-residents toward third countries and more toward Europe, as it is safer. Also discussed were how e-residents have held up against the coronavirus crisis and what countries are hijacking Estonian e-residency.
10.07.20 ... The debate over the incompatibility of local government council members' positions was left unfinished during the Riigikogu's spring session. The Supreme Court tasked the parliament with considering once more which people employed by cities and rural municipalities should be allowed to also serve as council members. The decision to be made in the fall will seriously affect upcoming local elections, Külli Taro writes in Vikerraadio's daily comment.
09.07.20 ... Current affairs can be given a deeper and more multifaceted meaning by making sense of them through plays, movies and novels, journalism expert Marju Himma recommends in Vikerraadio's daily comment.
08.07.20 ... The Conservative People's Party (EKRE) still sets itself in contrast to everyone else. It benefited them at parliamentary elections last year and is the line the party is following in the government. "Contra mundum," says Minister of Finance Martin Helme who took over running EKRE from his father Mart on Saturday. He also says things that do not require interpretation. EKRE's coalition partners, farmers and the Social Democrats would do well not to read this interview in the interests of peace of mind.
05.07.20 ... Martin Helme, who was elected chairman of the Conservative People's Party (EKRE) on Saturday and aims to win the next Riigikogu elections and become prime minister, told "Aktuaalne kaamera" in an interview that in order to find new supporters, the party's image can be changed without losing recent voters.
04.07.20 ... ERR News interviewed Mayor of Tallinn Mihhail Kõlvart last month about the future of the capital city, integration, coronavirus and upcoming movie "Tenet." The interview took place at Tallinn City Hall on June 19.
03.07.20 ... An unprecedent operation has been launched against Aivar Mäe the result of which is the destruction of the reputation of a respected person, Paul Keres, attorney to the national opera theater's director, says in an interview to ERR.
30.06.20 ... The European Commission's Director General for Mobility and Transport Henrik Hololei believes that the Baltic countries could have a single strong airline with a wide customer base. Hololei tells ERR in an interview that Estonia needs a strong aviation cluster that does not just stand for an airline but also includes a lot of other elements to promote aviation development.
28.06.20 ... One of the most exciting Center Party politicians Yana Toom says that while she would like to be a minister in Jüri Ratas' government, it is not the current one. Now, she is a member of the European Parliament who would push the EU toward federalization, form a coalition with the Social Democratic Party (SDE) in Narva but tends to trust Kristen Michal over Raimond Kaljulaid in Tallinn.
19.06.20 ... The Reform Party could support the coalition's presidential candidate, former foreign minister, MEP Urmas Paet says. He sees as the most unfortunate aspect of USA-EU relations the fact President Trump fails to discuss plans with allies and engages in solo acts that undermine transatlantic cooperation.
17.06.20 ... Former justice minister Rein Lang finds that Estonia is becoming an increasingly overregulated society and expects a campaign to repeal unnecessary laws as controversial legislation is piling up. Lang gave an interview to the "Vikerhommik" morning radio show to mark the 100th anniversary of the Estonian Constitution.
16.06.20 ... Minister of Economic Affairs and Instructure Taavi Aas says that Polish airline LOT will give up its stake in Nordica subsidiary Regional Jet and that current calculations suggests the holding could be acquired for less than €1 million, with the final sum to be determined in the course of negotiations. Estonia's €30 million state aid for Nordica should receive the green light from the European Commission in the near future.
12.06.20 ... Liis Ristal, head of the Baltic branch of Finnish food delivery services provider Wolt, is convinced that the company is doing the right thing in Estonia. While Wolt has managed to grow from one month to the next for three years, the business is not ready yet and a bigger niche needs to be carved out.
09.06.20 ... A spike in coronavirus cases will postpone recommendations for lifting additional restrictions planned for this week. Head of the government's COVID-19 research council, professor of virology Irja Lutsar tells ERR that the number of new cases needs to start falling before Estonia can return to alleviating restrictions.
04.06.20 ... Vice President of the Riigikogu Siim Kallas finds it insensible to give Nordica €30 million. The state should acquire a holding in a major regional airline to ensure continued direct flights from Tallinn. Kallas also says the EU joint loan has been all but agreed and that he is sickened by Estonians' willingness to count every red cent in the European budget.
03.06.20 ... In a recent interview with daily Eesti Päevaleht (EPL), former United States Ambassador to Estonia James D. Melville says that the presidential response to the current, widespread protests in the aftermath of the killing by Minneapolis police of George Floyd on May 25 bring out the hypocrisy of the present incumbent in a situation quite unlike anything the former ambassador had seen before.
28.05.20 ... In an interview with ERR, Minister of the Interior Mart Helme (EKRE) said that Europe taking out a joint loan would mean losing financial independence. He also believes that Germany wants to use it to save its banks that have given loans to Southern European states, and warned that in case of a crash, Italy might return to its own national currency in order to save its economy.
28.05.20 ... Prime Minister Jüri Ratas takes the coronavirus half-time opportunity to talk about what he would do differently next time. He also promises a solution for foreign labor in agriculture, says that Estonia has not been closed to foreign students and finds that just as Estonia agreed to the EU Green Deal, so will it support the union's €750 billion recovery plan.
22.05.20 ... The government laid down excessive restrictions on economic activity and made dependents and wards of people and companies as if they were unable to make the right decisions themselves, head of the Estonian Bar Association Jaanus Tehver says.
14.05.20 ... To what extent will Estonia be locked down should the coronavirus return in a second wave in autumn as forecast by medical professionals? Minister of Social Affairs Tanel Kiik (Center) hopes Estonia will be able to keep the spread of the virus in check so as to avoid having to close shopping centers, limit planned treatment and force students to study remotely.
29.04.20 ... Between a rock and a hard place – Minister of Rural Affairs Arvo Aller is grappling with farmers' concerns for seasonal labor at the same time as his party (Conservative People's Party) looking to keep foreign labor out of Estonia. But he is sincere in wanting as many Estonians as possible working on farms. Including students.
25.04.20 ... Prime Minister Jüri Ratas told the "Aktuaalne kaamera" news program on Friday evening that easing of coronavirus crisis restrictions must follow the principle of measure twice, cut once and that additional measuring is required before restrictions can be alleviated.
24.04.20 ... Mayor of Tallinn Mihhail Kõlvart has appeared to be swimming upstream to the government in the crisis. Is that really the case? He finds that wearing protective masks should not be made mandatory in Estonia. And that while the virus returning in autumn would require people to follow strict rules, life cannot be put on hold for a second time.
23.04.20 ... Historian and two-time prime minister Mart Laar, who celebrates his 60th birthday on Wednesday, tells ERR in an interview that the crisis needs to be turned into an advantage for Estonia and things done differently from neighboring countries. Laar says that Finland's behavior toward the start of the crisis showed it does not want a special relationship with Estonia. The former PM sees EKRE having become part of Estonian politics as a positive development as disgruntled people partial to following orders and observing bans have been given a voice.
21.04.20 ... Former Minister of Foreign Trade and IT Kaimar Karu, who has been removed from office by the leaders of the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE), did not expect it to happen in the midst of the emergency situation and a double crisis.
ERR News is the English-language service of Estonian Public Broadcasting, run by a fully independent editorial team.
To read up on ERR News' comments rules and to contact ERR's other services, please follow the link below.
Staff, contacts & comments