Tallinn urban planning mayor: Speed limit in capital should be lowered

25.11.21 NEWS ... Social Democratic Party (SDE) member and new Tallinn deputy mayor responsible for urban planning Madle Lippus told ERR that the speed limits in Tallinn should be lowered to 30 km/h. She noted that bicycles and pedestrians should be given more space at the expense of cars.

Border guard head: We need faster way to send people back across the border

23.11.21 NEWS ... Estonian agencies practiced processing hundreds of daily asylum requests during a major exercise in 2019. While this aspect is considered today, the focus has shifted to defending the border in light of Belarus' attack. Deputy Director of the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) Egert Belitšev believes that an amendment allowing people who have entered the country illegally to be sent right back across the border is needed for emergency situations.

Prime minister: Germany shared subject matter of Lukashenko calls

18.11.21 NEWS ... German Chancellor Angela Merkel has spoken to Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko on two occasions this week. Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) says in an interview to ERR that Germany has shared the contents of the calls with Estonia and that she believes it is good if the conversations will result in humanitarian aid for the people in Belarus. Additional sanctions could put an end to Belarus' actions, Kallas suggests.

New environment minister: Heads of European powers waving climate slogans

17.11.21 NEWS ... Incoming environment minister Erki Savisaar (Center) believes that not all climate goals the European Union expects from Estonia are realistic. He highlights among the weaknesses of the Commission's climate package involving maritime trade in the carbon emissions trading system.

Reform MEP: Reform cannot be held hostage by Martin Helme

15.11.21 POLITICS ... Former PM and Reform Party leader, MEP Andrus Ansip criticized current Prime Minister Kaja Kallas last week and has not changed his mind. He told ERR that the government has not handled the coronavirus crisis well and that Kallas cannot present herself as irreplaceable.

Ossinovski: More political balance needed in Tallinn municipal companies

13.11.21 NEWS ... Social Democratic Party (SDE) MP and former chairman Jevgeni Ossinovski says in an interview to ERR that Tallinn municipal companies would benefit from having more experts and political balance. However, Ossinovski does not urge complete depoliticization of companies.

Media expert: Lazy journalism leaves fertile soil for populism

13.11.21 NEWS ... Populism can never be removed from society completely, while journalism can keep its spread in check by paying attention to the everyday problems of ordinary people, Tim Pauwels, ombudsman of the Flemish public broadcaster VRT, says in an interview.

Martin Helme: Heads of hospitals need to stop fueling panic

07.11.21 NEWS ... Chairman of the opposition Conservative People's Party (EKRE) Martin Helme says in an interview that it is possible Estonia's hospital funding model should be revised to make sure additional funds reach doctors and nurses who are seeing to patients. He also says that politically speaking, it would not make sense for him to leave the opposition as the current government's style is only bolstering the ranks of EKRE supporters.

Kiik does not support Kallas' tougher coronavirus measures

15.10.21 NEWS ... Minister of Health and Labor Tanel Kiik (Center) told ERR in an interview that he does not support PM Kaja Kallas' tougher coronavirus restrictions. The minister shed light on differences of opinion between Center and Reform when it comes to solving the coronavirus crisis but did not say whether he will resign should hospitals become overwhelmed.

Family physician: The government should not act on emotions

14.10.21 CORONAVIRUS ... Family physician Eero Merilind said in an interview with ERR that doctors need far more money to hire additional staff to restart the vaccination process. The doctor prefers persuasion in getting people to get vaccinated as the use of restrictions is not sustainable.

New ERM director: Exhibitions and research have been overshadowed by events

13.10.21 CULTURE ... In December, Kertu Saks will take over as the new director of the Estonian National Museum (ERM) after previous director Alar Karis was elected president of Estonia. In an interview to ERR, Saks said she wants the museum wants to go back to being more of a museum.

Lauristin: Why is no one protesting against red traffic lights?

12.10.21 NEWS ... University of Tartu social scientist and veteran politician Marju Lauristin said the government's immunization plans have failed, since they have failed to account for the need to inform people of their personal risks. She said she supports mandatory vaccinations for people in certain occupations and the implementation of clear restrictions, as this is all done in the interest of security in the context of a pandemic.

Kaljulaid: Estonian society has improved over the last five years

11.10.21 NEWS ... President Kersti Kaljulaid sums up her term in office in an interview to Marko Reikop. Kaljulaid says that Estonian society is not broken and that after five years of efforts, Estonians have more courage to also glance into the darker corners of life.

Psychologist: Pressure needs to be put on the unvaccinated

26.09.21 NEWS ... Tallinn University professor, psychologist Mati Heidmets says that Estonia should have taken tough steps against anti-vaccination sentiment a long time ago as the minority is expected to obey the majority in the end. Heidmets says Estonia remains in the Eastern European mindset where the state is expected to exert pressure and offer guidelines.

Postimees sees no conflict of interest in funding MS Estonia expedition

08.09.21 NEWS ... Even though Postimees is funding an expedition by MS Estonia next of kin to the wreck of the ferry, Postimees journalists are merely observers to the process, Editor-in-Chief of Postimees Marti Aavik says, adding that looking for a conflict of interest is useless.

Alar Karis will not be straightening politicians' ties or buttoning coats

03.09.21 NEWS ... President-Elect Alar Karis (63) is packing his things in the office of the director of the Estonian National Museum to open the door to Kadriorg Palace 40 days from now. The former auditor general, university rector is still balancing on the narrow footbridge between insecurity and confidence.

Lutsar: Mask-wearing obligation extension justified by increased numbers

20.08.21 CORONAVIRUS ... Head of the government's advisory scientific council Irja Lutsar told ERR that extending the mask-wearing obligation is justified by a rise in coronavirus figures.

Ühtegi and Tali: Will to defend ourselves breaking the greatest threat

29.07.21 NEWS ... August will mark the passing of 30 years from the restoration of Estonian independence. Brig. Gen. Riho Ühtegi, long-time military intelligence chief, now serves as commander of the Defense League, while Col. Peeter Tali, former journalist, is the deputy head of the NATO Strategic Communications Center of Excellence in Riga. Restoring the Estonian Defense Forces has been a part of their lives.

Luik and Tiido: Neutrality would have meant ending up alone

23.07.21 NEWS ... A small country needs to punch above its weight to be noticed and refrain from isolating itself, former ambassadors Jüri Luik and Harri Tiido say of foreign policy in re-independent Estonia.

Health Board crisis chief: Hospitalized COVID-19 patients are now younger

14.07.21 CORONAVIRUS ... Health Board emergency medicine chief Urmas Sule said the general infection trend and hospitalizations have gotten increasingly younger recently. He told ERR that he considers medical staff vacations the most critical preparation for a possible third wave of COVID-19 in fall.

Taavi Aas: Environmental Board needs to pay for stopping roadworks

01.07.21 NEWS ... Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure Taavi Aas (Center) finds that if the Environmental Board's call to stop clearing on the Kanama-Valingu highway section comes with additional expenses for the contractor, the board should pay. TREV-2 is asking for €1.7 million in compensation.

Kaja Kallas: Debate cannot be allowed to turn ugly, or people to get hurt

30.06.21 NEWS ... What to discuss with the prime minister on the eve of Victory Day and Midsummer Day? Journalist Toomas Sildam grilled Kaja Kallas on Budget cuts, coronavirus, the armed forces band, conflicts in politics, why she is reading the book "The Asshole Survival Guide: How to Deal with People Who Treat You Like Dirt" and whether there is a thread holding all 1.3 million people in Estonia together.

Interior minister: Right to decide over use of data can be discussed

17.06.21 NEWS ... Current legislation does not give people in Estonia a choice over what kind of personal data the state can use or when to prohibit it. Minister of the Interior Kristian Jaani (Center) agrees, in the wake of the ABIS debate, that creating such a possibility could be publicly discussed.

State Secretary on the coronavirus crisis: We came to the precipice

16.06.21 NEWS ... The government will soon have at its disposal an ultramodern crisis management center and perhaps one of the most secretive buildings in Estonia. State Secretary Taimar Peterkop won't say what will take place there but talks about the culture of crisis preparedness instead.

Liimets: I am concentrating on successfully performing professional tasks

15.06.21 NEWS ... Minister of Foreign Affairs Eva-Maria Liimets, who joined the Center Party last week, says that she prioritizes her foreign policy tasks above party politics for the time being.

Izmailova: Greens aiming for coalition in Tallinn

13.06.21 NEWS ... The Estonian Greens' list of candidates in Tallinn will be many times bigger than in the past at upcoming local government council elections, with the party prioritizing anti-corruption efforts, Tallinn mayor candidate Züleyxa Izmailova tells ERR in an interview. The Greens aim for a coalition seat in the capital.

Interior minister: My worldview is that of a policeman

11.06.21 NEWS ... A fresh member of the Center Party, Minister of the Interior Kristian Jaani told ERR on Thursday that he intends to run in local government elections in October. When it comes to his worldview, the former Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) official said he still sees things as a policeman, which provides him with an important sense for internal security.

Kristi Raik: Covid showed that states can be very egotistical

11.06.21 NEWS ... The Finns cannot and refuse to understand how many Estonians are affected by their decision to block labor migration, Director of the Estonian Foreign Policy Institute Kristi Raik, who has worked and pursued research in Finland, says. She also talks about why patience is needed in supporting Eastern Partnership countries to deliver them from under Russian pressure.

Foreign minister: We have done everything we can to restore labor migration

09.06.21 NEWS ... Minister of Foreign Affairs Eva-Maria Liimets says that Estonia has done more or less everything in its power to explain to Finland the need to restore regular labor migration. Without results so far.

Pekka Haavisto: No specific time frame on restoring labor migration

09.06.21 CORONAVIRUS ... Finland's Minister for Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto told ERR on Tuesday that the Finnish government is working on restoring labor migration between Estonia and Finland as soon as possible, but the current epidemiological situation does not merit opening travel completely.

Interview | Ambassador of Georgia on Independence Day

26.05.21 INTERVIEWS ... May 26 is Georgian Independence Day, a country with much in common with Estonia, even as the two nations' fortunes have taken somewhat different paths since the collapse of the Soviet Union thirty years ago. ERR News caught up with Georgia's ambassador to Estonia, Mr. Archil Karaulashvili to give us a sense of the importance of the country's national day, issues facing its move towards full Euro-Atlantic partnership, Estonian-Georgian relations, and just how did Georgia get to have such a strong international Rugby team.

Former defense ministry undersecretary: Less means less and that is okay

25.05.21 NEWS ... Former Ministry of Defense undersecretary and current Estonian ambassador to the United States Kristjan Prikk spoke to ERR's Toomas Sildam about the pains, gains, connections and backgrounds of national defense. He also spoke on the decision to cut the Estonian Defense Forces (EDF) orchestra.

Justice minister: EU funding could lead to overheating in 2024-2025

27.04.21 ECONOMY ... Minister of Justice Maris Lauri (Reform) said Estonia is set to receive so much in investments from the European Union in 2024-2025 that Estonia's own spending must be reduced to avoid overheating in sectors such as construction. Lauri told ERR that there is a clear danger of overheating in the construction sector if the Rail Baltic project and three main highways will be under development concurrently.

Jüri Luik: Russia-West relations like a dialogue between a deaf and a mute

23.04.21 NEWS ... My conversation with Jüri Luik takes place at a time when over 100,000 Russian troops are waiting on the border with Ukraine and the West is trying to figure out what it is they are waiting for. Luik – former defense and foreign affairs ministers, ambassador, now deputy chairman of the Riigikogu Foreign Affairs Committee – talks about why President Putin acts they way he does and steps democracies can take to counter him.

Mart Laar: We need to forget about Russia for a little while

22.04.21 NEWS ... Veteran politician and historian Mart Laar, who celebrates his 61st birthday on Thursday, finds that Estonia should not worry too much about Russia.

Prime minister: A week of distance learning after school break is necessary

21.04.21 INTERVIEWS ... Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) told ETV's daily affairs show "Aktuaalne kaamera" in an interview that since infections tend to grow right after a school break, restrictions on education could not be eased from Monday, the first day back from the school break.

Foreign minister: Estonia willing to consider granting Navalny asylum

20.04.21 NEWS ... Minister of Foreign Affairs Eva-Maria Liimets does not support former President Toomas Hendrik Ilves' proposal to freeze all Russian citizens' EU entry visas and says that Estonia is prepared to consider granting asylum to Alexey Navalny.

Head of union: Nurses driven to their breaking point could stop smiling

14.04.21 NEWS ... The patient deserves the best, while the best is not available in a situation where nurses and caregivers are overworked and exhausted.

Scientific council head: Schools should be first to exit restrictions

13.04.21 CORONAVIRUS ... Head of the government's advisory scientific council Irja Lutsar is careful when discussing coronavirus restrictions and emphasizes that coronavirus spread indicators have not actually gotten much better in Estonia. Lutsar noted that schools should be among the first to open once again, especially in regions with lower infection indicators.

Mart Helme to establish Riigikogu support group for Estonia leaving the EU

11.04.21 NEWS ... Deputy chairman of the opposition Conservative People's Party (EKRE) Mart Helme told ERR in an interview that he wants to create a Riigikogu support group for Estonia leaving the European Union. Helme described the initiative as a cry for help in a federalizing Europe that has succumbed to neo-Marxist ideology. Helme claims there are attempts to rewrite history and lay down censorship in the European Union, as well as attempts to turn the European Commission into the European government.

Andrus Ansip: PM must be sure keeping government together serves a purpose

03.04.21 NEWS ... Veteran politician Andrus Ansip does not beat around the bush. The galloping interview with the former prime minister and European Commission vice president races through Estonian domestic politics where more than a few players get slapped, touches on the coronavirus crisis and fall presidential elections, before arriving at a recipe for casting off the shadows of doping in Estonian skiing.

Mayor: No sense in nursing illusion of kids returning to school this spring

27.03.21 NEWS ... Mayor of Tallinn Mihhail Kõlvart told ERR that he is not very hopeful in terms of children being able to return to school this spring. The mayor believes he should not be vaccinated in a situation where many essential workers have not been given access to immunization yet.

Kallas on additional restrictions: There is little left we can do

24.03.21 CORONAVIRUS ... Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) told ERR that there are no additional restrictions left to establish in Estonia and her admonishing social media post on Tuesday was directed at those who do not follow the restrictions in force currently.

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.

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.

Katri Raik: EU eastern border cannot be allowed to run out of people

02.02.21 NEWS ... She had it all – a job in the Riigikogu and a comfortable apartment in the heart of Tallinn. A month ago, she gave it all up and sat on a wobbly three-legged stool in Narva. How does life in Estonia seem from the last homely house on the border? Mayor of Narva Katri Raik (SDE) knows and tells.

Kaljulaid: Supervisory boards of Tallinn companies should be depoliticized

31.01.21 NEWS ... Members of supervisory boards of municipal companies in Tallinn could be proposed by a special appointments committee similarly to how it works on the central government level, Raimond Kaljulaid, Tallinn mayoral candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDE) says in an interview. Kaljulaid adds that Rainer Vakra leaving will not cost the Social Democrats much in terms of votes.

Ambassador to US: Biden concentrated on unity and democracy in speech

21.01.21 NEWS ... Estonian Ambassador to the United States of America Jonatan Vseviov says in an interview to ERR that the inauguration ceremony of the 46th President of the United States Joe Biden went smoothly and without incident. Vseviov says that Biden's speech concentrated on the need to find common ground and defense of democracy.

Helme considers the same coalition continuing a possibility

13.01.21 NEWS ... Chairman of the Conservative People's Party (EKRE), Minister of Finance Martin Helme does not rule out a new coalition between recent partners in an interview to ERR. At the same time, he considers it possible that the marriage referendum vote in the Riigikogu will be canceled.

President: Estonians' will to cooperate highlight of the outgoing year

23.12.20 NEWS ... President Kersti Kaljulaid said that Estonians' will to cooperate has shined through during the outgoing COVID-19 year. The president told Priit Kuusk in an end of the year interview on ETV about overcoming the economic crisis, plans regarding her OECD candidacy, next year's presidential elections and Christmas that will come differently this year.

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