Social Democrats add unified school system to 2019 campaign platform

19.12.18 ... The Social Democratic Party is making a unified education system part of its platform for the 2019 general election on 3 March next year. To achieve this, the party is turning towards a school model where native speakers of Estonian as well as Russian would study together under the same roof starting from nursery school.

Agreement to be signed fixing Estonian R&D investment at 1% of GDP

19.12.18 ... The research agreement to be signed at the Office of the President in Tallinn today will set out the goal of investing the equivalent of at least 1% of Estonia's gross domestic product into research and development activities. In 2017, just over half of that amount was invested.

Ossinovski expects poverty to significantly decrease in 2017

19.12.18 ... Chairman of the Social Democratic Party (SDE) and former minister of health and labour, Jevgeni Ossinovski expects poverty in Estonia to decrease as an effect of the current government's income tax reform, though the actual impact will become clear only after data is evaluated next year.

Interior Ministry to split immigration quota into two parts

18.12.18 ... Next year, the Ministry of the Interior wants to split the annual immigration quota into two equal, six-month halves, issuing 657 residence permits through 30 June and another 658 residence permits through the end of the year.

Expiring FIFA World Cup Fan IDs may put pressure on eastern border

18.12.18 ... As Fan IDs are set to expire at the end of the year, some of the large numbers of third country citizens to travel to Russia in connection with the 2018 FIFA World Cup this summer may attempt to enter Estonia illegally, the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) warned.

Ossinovski: Kaljurand could top SDE list for European Parliament elections

18.12.18 ... Chairman of the Social Democratic Party (SDE) Jevgeni Ossinovski said on Tuesday that he wants Marina Kaljurand to top the party's ticket for the 2019 European Parliament elections next May.

Motion submitted for visa bans on Kerch incident-related Russian officials

18.12.18 ... A draft resolution of the Riigikogu submitted by several MPs would impose a visa ban on three Russian officials and an MP connected to the incident in the Kerch Strait in which Ukrainian naval vessels together with their crews were attacked and captured by Russian ships.

Greens against merging of Environmental Board, Inspectorate

18.12.18 ... The non-parliamentary Estonian Greens consider the bill merging the Environmental Board and the Environmental Inspectorate to be incomplete and on Tuesday sought for it to be rejected by the Riigikogu.

US arms manufacturer Sig Sauer contests Estonia's firearms tender

18.12.18 ... US arms manufacturer Sig Sauer Inc. has challenged an automatic firearms procurement conducted by the Estonian Centre for Defence Investments (ECDI) in which the tender submitted by US arms manufacturer Lewis Machine & Tool Company (LMT) was deemed successful.

E-Residency 2.0: Paradigm shift, hidden in bland new white paper

18.12.18 ... The e-Residency programme introduced its new white paper on Tuesday, outlining the next steps to be taken in Estonia's extension of its state services to non-physical residents. While the paper itself is rather on the bland side, offering little new information, the implications are in fact considerable, as two of the programme's masterminds explained to ERR News.

Kaja Kallas: Estonia needs to become attractive to emigrants

18.12.18 ... Chairwoman of the opposition Reform Party, Kaja Kallas thinks that Estonia needs to become attractive again to those Estonians who left. Ms Kallas said in a recent interview that the question is what it could be that would make these emigrants head on home.

Ratas: Cooperation with African countries beneficial to all involved

18.12.18 ... Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre) took part in an Africa-Europe forum in Vienna on Monday, where leaders of European and African countries met to discuss bilateral relations and cooperation. According to Ratas, there is a need to intensify the latter, especially with a focus on digital governance and services.

Survey: Will in population to defend Estonia remains high

18.12.18 ... A survey carried out for the Ministry of Defence in October 2018 indicates that the will of Estonia's residents to defend their country remains high. Some 60% of the population are ready to join activities contributing to national defence, the survey brought out.

Statistics Estonia: 295,000 lived at risk of poverty in 2017

18.12.18 ... According to Statistics Estonia, 22.6% of the Estonian population lived at risk of poverty in 2017, a 1.6% larger share than in the year before, mainly due to the fact that the lowest incomes showed slower growth.

Baltic prime ministers agree on single time zone after clock-changing ends

17.12.18 ... The Prime Ministers of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania agreed in Vilnius on Monday to remain in one time zone after the EU abolishes the practice of switching between summer and winter time every year, Lithuanian Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis said on Monday.

Russian ambassador: Estonian-Russian relations not currently at their best

17.12.18 ... Estonia's current relations with Russia, like those of all EU and NATO member states, are not at their best right now, Russian Ambassador to Estonia Alexander Petrov said on Monday.

Kiisler: Estonia must reduce emissions 80% by 2050

17.12.18 ... Negotiations leading to the adoption of the rules on the implementation of the Paris Agreement held at the UN's Katowice Climate Change Conference in Poland were not easy, Minister of the Environment Siim Kiisler (Pro Patria) said on Monday.

Thesis details fostering of patriotism in Estonian diaspora during Cold War

17.12.18 ... In a doctoral thesis successfully defended at Tallinn University (TLÜ) on Monday, Dr Maarja Merivoo-Parro examined what Estonian life was like in the Cold War-era United States and how this manifested in humor, music, education, recreation and academic mobility.

EU commission approves Estonia-Russia cross-border projects

17.12.18 ... The European Commission has approved five large-scale infrastructure projects of the Estonia-Russia cross-border cooperation program, including the continuation of building restoration and road works along the border in the amount of more than €20 million.

Social Democrats sign off on election lists at party congress in Jõhvi

17.12.18 ... The Social Democratic Party has its lists for the 2019 general election in place. At the party's congress held in Jõhvi in Ida-Viru County on Sunday, they also signed off on the campaign platform.

Ratas meeting Baltic prime ministers in Vilnius, to continue on to Vienna

17.12.18 ... Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre) is travelling to Vilnius on Monday to meet with his Lithuanian and Latvian colleagues. The meeting marks the end of Lithuania's presidency of the Prime Ministers' Council, the highest-ranking format under the Baltic Council of Ministers.

Receiving pensions and benefits at home getting more expensive

17.12.18 ... The cost of getting pensions and benefits sent to people's homes by mail will rise from currently €6.60 to €7.70 a month, the Social Insurance Board has announced. The change will affect some 5,000 Estonian residents.

ESTPLA-26 returns from Mali mission

16.12.18 ... Following a four-month tour in Mali, members of the Estonian Defence Forces' (EDF) infantry unit ESTPLA-26 and its support element returned to Estonia on Friday evening.

Rescuers' average monthly salary to increase to €1,000

16.12.18 ... The 2019 state budget recently adopted by the Riigikogu will allow for rescuers's monthly salaries to be increased by an average of 23.6% to €1,000, the Rescue Board said.

Pro Patria board endorses party's candidate lists

16.12.18 ... At an assembly held at the Tallinn Botanic Garden on Saturday, the extended board of the Pro Patria Party endorsed the party's lists of candidates for the 2019 Riigikogu elections to take place on 3 March.

MEPs: Four imprisoned Sakharov Prize laureates must be freed

16.12.18 ... In a letter sent to EU leaders, members of the European Parliament, including MEP Urmas Paet (Reform/ALDE), are demanding that the EU make efforts to ensure the release of four imprisoned laureates of the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought

State allocates €4.2 million to finance EDF's Afghanistan, Mali missions

15.12.18 ... The Estonian government has allocated the Ministry of Defence €4.2 million to cover the costs of the Estonian Defence Forces' (EDF) missions in Afghanistan and Mali.

Ratas: EU leaders focused on internal market, migration, climate change

15.12.18 ... On the second day of a meeting of the European Council in Brussels on Friday, EU heads of state and government focused on the issues of the internal market, migration and climate change.

Free kindergarten bill passes first reading in Riigikogu

15.12.18 ... A bill introduced by the opposition Free Party ensuring free kindergarten spots for all children in Estonia passed its first reading in the Riigikogu this week with the votes of the Free Party, the Reform Party, the Social Democratic Party (SDE) and the Centre Party.

Gallery: Memorial service marks British naval squadron arrival in Tallinn

14.12.18 ... A memorial service was held on Thursday, commemorating the centenary of the arrival of a British Royal Naval Squadron during the Estonian War of Independence. The service was attended by President Kersti Kaljulaid, UK ambassador Theresa Bubbear and representatives of both nations' defence forces.

Estonia to test e-voting, replacing candidates with Christmas gifts

14.12.18 ... The State Electoral Committee will begin public testing of its online voting environment on Monday by allowing citizens to submit season's greetings and pick a gift using Estonia's e-voting platform. The campaign has become a tradition and typically precedes a general election by a few months.

Kelly Sildaru wins again, this time at the Dew Tour

14.12.18 ... Freestyle skier Kelly Sildaru has won the US Dew Tour event US for the third time, dominating the women's ski slopestyle with 185, 67 points of a possible 200, 20 points ahead of second-placed skier Tess Ledeux (France).

Madise: In many countries, people's fear of mass immigration underestimated

14.12.18 ... What can be learned from the tensions sparked by the UN Global Compact for Migration is that people's fear of mass immigration has been underestimated, both in Estonia and other countries, Chancellor of Justice Ülle Madise said on ETV broadcast Esimene stuudio.

Council wants EU multiannual financial framework agreement by next autumn

14.12.18 ... On the first day of the European Council on Thursday, heads of state and government of the EU confirmed their will to reach an agreement regarding the EU's next multiannual financial framework (MFF) by autumn 2019, spokespeople for the Estonian government said.

Government decision ensures St. Nicholas' to remain museum, concert hall

14.12.18 ... The Estonian government and the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church (EELK) reached an agreement according to which St. Nicholas' Church in Tallinn will remain a branch of the Art Museum of Estonia and a concert hall.

Poll: Support for Ratas as prime minister high, for Kallas on upswing

14.12.18 ... Two and a half months before the next Riigikogu election, Centre Party chairman and incumbent Prime Minister Jüri Ratas remains the favourite contender for Estonia's next head of government, but support for opposition Reform Party chairwoman Kaja Kallas is also on the rise again, it appears from the results of a poll commissioned by daily Eesti Päevaleht (EPL) and conducted by Turu-uuringute AS on the best fit for prime minister.

Savisaar attends Christmas meeting of Tallinn City Council

13.12.18 ... Tallinn ex-mayor, former longtime chairman of the Centre Party and council member Edgar Savisaar on Thursday attended the final Tallinn City Council meeting of the year. City council chairman Mihhail Kõlvart (Centre), meanwhile, wants to reduce the size of the council in general.

Party protection money: storm in a teacup or embarrassing anachronism?

13.12.18 ... Instead of patching up roofs with protection money (Estonian: Katuseraha, literally 'roof money') we should dream more boldly and take on more complex challenges in the state budget, writes politician Mart Võrklaev (Reform). On the other hand, Isamaa/Pro Patria leader Helir-Valdor Seeder says whilst the system is not perfect, opposition to protection money exaggerates what is little more than the icing on the cake of the state budget. Here, we look at two different takes on the issue.

Prangli island leader on ferry transport: Our situation is tragic

13.12.18 ... Prangli island elder Terje Lilleoks has sent an appeal to Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre), the Estonian Maritime Administration and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications an appeal in which she called the island's situation in terms of its ferry connection to the mainland "tragic."

Estonia 200 in no hurry to introduce party's top candidates

13.12.18 ... Estonia 200 chairwoman Kristina Kallas said on Thursday that now is not the right time for the new party to introduce its top candidates, as media consumption hits a slump during the Christmas holidays anyway.

Riigikogu rejects dual citizenship bill

13.12.18 ... A bill initiated by the opposition Reform Party which would have allowed Estonian citizens by birth to hold dual citizenship was rejected in the Riigikogu on Thursday with the votes of the Centre Party, Pro Patria, the Social Democratic Party (SDE) and the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE).

Ratings: Among Estonian-speakers, support for EKRE on path to rival Reform

13.12.18 ... While the opposition Reform Party remains the most popular political force among Estonian-speaking citizens, the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) is rapidly gaining ground, it appears from the results of a survey commissioned by BNS and daily Postimees and conducted by Kantar Emor in early December.

Riigikogu adopts 2019 state budget

13.12.18 ... The Riigikogu on Wednesday evening adopted Estonia's 2019 state budget, the total volume of which exceeds €11 billion.

December ratings: Migration fight increases EKRE support, opposition

13.12.18 ... The conflict sparked by the UN Global Compact for Migration led to an increase in supporters of the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE), but also significant uptick in the number of voters who would not vote for EKRE under any circumstances.

Interview: Researcher on Faroese e-Government and the Estonian experience

12.12.18 ... Being a small, northern country once ruled over by Scandinavians, Estonians are in an ideal position to bring their e-government know-how to their distant cousins strung out across the North Atlantic, on the Faroe Islands. This is by no means, however, a one-way street, but more of a crossroads — or rather an X-Road, given Estonia's name for its widely-known interoperability solution — with Estonia benefiting just as much from the symbiotic relationship.

Riigikogu adopts Personal Data Protection Act

12.12.18 ... The Riigikogu on Wednesday adopted a law regulating the use and processing of personal data as well as supervision thereof.

Riigikogu adopts amendment allowing for election of 7th MEP

12.12.18 ... The Riigikogu on Wednesday adopted an amendment with which the exact number of MEPs to be elected was struck from the European Parliament Election Act.

Imre Arakas sentenced to six years in prison in Ireland

12.12.18 ... The Special Criminal Court of Ireland on Wednesday sentenced Estonian Imre Arakas, a known figure in the criminal world, to six years in prison for conspiracy to murder.

Proponents of mass immigration to blame for Strasbourg attack, says Helme

12.12.18 ... The responsibility for Tuesday evening's deadly shooting in Strasbourg lies with all the politicians who facilitate mass immigration, said Mart Helme, chairman of the opposition Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE).

Luik discusses situation on Black Sea with Turkish colleague, MPs

12.12.18 ... Minister of Defence Jüri Luik (Pro Patria) met with Turkish Minister of National Defence Hulusi Akar and Speaker of the Grand National Assembly Binali Yıldırım in Ankara on Tuesday to discuss the security situation on the Black Sea, in Syria and other countries in the region.

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