News

I won't go against my party, says Centre MEP

17.08.19 ... Centre Party MEP Yana Toom says party comes first even as its partnership with the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) is problematic, as the coalition government faces a vote of no-confidence from opposition Reform Party. Toom had previously been critical of Centre being in office EKRE whose ministers attempted to unilaterally remove Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) chief Elmar Vaher this week.

Reform wants Ratas no-confidence vote before Riigikogu summer break ends

17.08.19 ... The Reform Party wants a vote of no-confidence in the coalition government led by Jüri Ratas (Centre).

Interior ministry says didn't intend to mislead daily on police staff cuts

17.08.19 ... An article appearing in daily Postimees published Saturday claims an interior ministry under-secretary tried to mislead it over its strategy on staff cuts at the police authority and other bodies. The ministry itself, however, rejects the paper's charge, though notes the information it presented had some ambiguities.

Situation complicated but not crisis, says premier after Helme meeting

17.08.19 ... Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre) denied Friday evening that any kind of crisis had engulfed his coalition government, instead calling the situation "complicated". Ratas also met both of the Helmes, interior minister, deputy prime minister, and Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) leader Mart, along with finance minister Martin, in an effort to resolve matters. The prime minister did however call the attempt to remove Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) chief Elmar Vaher unilaterally and at the behest of the interior minister alone, an unacceptable action, which must not be repeated.

RIA: More cyber incidents than average registered in July

16.08.19 ... Last month, the Information System Authority (RIA) registered 324 cyber incidents, which is above the monthly average, but on par with July 2018 figures.

Eesti Energia redundancies may be fewer than projected

15.08.19 ... Around 350 redundancies is the maximum expected in northeastern Estonia's mining and energy sector in the near future, less than forecast earlier, though following a wave of retirements and redundancies over the summer. At the same time, government ministers have stressed the importance of maintaining Estonia's energy independence, and a desire to protect jobs as far as possible.

MEP: Attempt to fire police chief latest compromise of country's integrity

16.08.19 ... MEP Urmas Paet (Reform) says the reputation of the Estonian government is in tatters, following an attempt to remove chief of the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) chief, Elmar Vaher, without due process.

First high-level official visit from India brings vice president to Tallinn

16.08.19 ... Vice President of India Venkaiah Naidu is to visit Estonia next week, the first high-level official visit to Estonia from that country, Baltic News Service reports.

Interior ministry: No proceedings launched against Vaher

16.08.19 ... No proceedings are being launched against Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) Director General Elmar Vaher, the Ministry of the Interior announced around midday Friday.

Juhan Parts: EKRE has a sobering effect

16.08.19 ... On an appearance on daily Postimees' live online broadcast "Otse Postimehest," Estonian member of the European Court of Auditors (ECA) and former prime minister Juhan Parts said that the existence of parties like the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) has a sobering effect on mainstream political parties.

Lithuanian president to visit Estonia on restoration of independence day

16.08.19 ... President of Lithuania Gitanas Nausėda is on an official visit to Estonia next week, where he will attend the annual restoration of independence day reception at Kadriorg Palace.

SDE chair: Thursday among darkest days in Estonian politics

16.08.19 ... Following what party chairman Indrek Saar referred to as one of the darkest days in Estonian politics on Thursday, the opposition Social Democratic Party (SDE) expects Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre) to dismiss Minister of Finance Martin Helme (EKRE) and Minister of the Interior Mart Helme (EKRE) from their posts immediately.

President calls prime minister for crisis meeting

16.08.19 ... President Kersti Kaljulaid has summoned Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre) for a crisis meeting, after a governmental split over the status of Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) chief Elmar Vaher.

Decide on Vaher next move once facts clear, says Isamaa leader

16.08.19 ... Isamaa leader Helir-Valdor Seeder has called for getting to the bottom of the truth of both sides in the controversy over calls for the resignation of Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) chief Elmar Vaher made by interior minister Mart Helme (EKRE), before making a decision on what to do next.

Kallas on Helmes' actions: Never seen anything like this before

16.08.19 ... In a brief interview with ERR on Friday morning, Reform Party chairwoman Kaja Kallas said that she had never before seen a situation in which a minister caused trouble in the area of governance of another minister the way Minister of Finance Martin Helme (EKRE) did.

Police worker trade union backs police chief in interior ministry deadlock

16.08.19 ... The trade union of police workers (Politseiteenistujate Ametiühing) has expressed its support for Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) chief Elmar Vaher, currently the subject of attack from ministers and members of the Estonian Conservative People's Party (EKRE), claiming that communication by Vaher regarding staff issues has been in accordance with correct procedures.

Interior minister doubles down on police chief dismissal

16.08.19 ... Interior minister Mart Helme (EKRE) has repeated his demand that Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) chief Elmar Vaher step down from his post.

Col. Ühtegi interview: Defence League not a 'phantom force'

16.08.19 ... Col. Riho Ühtegi, the former longtime head of military intelligence who went on to serve as commander of the Estonian Defence Forces' (EDF) Special Operations Force, has been serving as commander of the volunteer Estonian Defence League (Kaitseliit) for three weeks now. In an extended interview with ERR journalist Toomas Sildam, Ühtegi speaks of guerrilla tactics, hybrid warfare and "little green men."

Reform Party leader: Government should step down over Vaher dismissal case

16.08.19 ... Reform Party leader Kaja Kallas says that the government should step down, in the wake of a crisis surrounding the attempted firing of the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) chief Elmar Vaher.

Government crisis: EKRE attempt to sack police chief overruled by Ratas

15.08.19 ... Interior minister Mart Helme (EKRE) has said that Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) chief Elmar Vaher is to be dismissed with effect from Friday. However, neither Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre), nor Vaher himself, say the dismissal is valid, with the latter claiming that the digital signature of the ministry's secretary general was not valid.

Prime Minister: no ultimatums between parties on pensions rise and reforms

15.08.19 ... Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre) says no ultimatums have been given by any of the three coalition parties concerning pension reform and the related proposed pensions hike.

City tower exhibition brings famous towers to Tallinn Ferris wheel

15.08.19 ... Tallinn City Museum has opened a new exhibition about Tallinn's various iconic towers, old and new, on the platform of the city's newest tourist attraction — the Skywheel of Tallinn.

Integration Foundation offers free Estonian courses from next week

15.08.19 ... Free Estonian-language courses are being made available via the Integration Foundation website from next Thursday.

No police redundancy cuts imminent, says prime minister

15.08.19 ... Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre) says that his government has no plans to make redundancies at the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) or any other state departments. The announcement followed claims by PPA chief Elmar Vaher that as many as 150 redundancies would be made from its personnel as part of a cost-cutting measure of around €6 million.

State putting up €22 million for new ERR TV house

15.08.19 ... The government has announced it is to invest €22 million in constructing a new TV house at public broadcaster ERR, which it says should meet the requirements of a modern TV broadcaster.

State investing more in real estate than predicted, at €83 million

15.08.19 ... The coalition government announced its national real estate investment strategy Thursday, with approximately €83 million being spent in that sphere starting next year. Previous forecast had put the figure lower than this, in the €60-70 million range. Significant investment objects include the Academy of Arts (EKA), the National Library, and the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA).

Ministry's food audit results delayed by safety claims

15.08.19 ... Completion of a food safety audit ordered by the rural affairs ministry has been postponed following criticisms of food safety issued by the National Audit Office (Riigikontroll), Baltic News Service reports.

Bear which strayed over Russian border now held at Tallinn Zoo

15.08.19 ... One of two bears thought to have crossed into Estonia over the border with Russia in late June has been found. The two bears, named Prosha and Polya, were being sought by authorities in the Russian Federation since they were reintroduced into the wild there, having been cared for in captivity after being orphaned as cubs. They are thought to have traveled from the Pskov region, which abuts Estonia's southeastern border.

NATO jet approached in unsafe manner by Russian plane, says alliance

15.08.19 ... NATO says one of its planes engaged in interception and escort duties in international airspace over the Baltic Sea was approached in an "unsafe manner" by a Russian jet on Tuesday, Baltic News Service reports.

PPA says redundancies coming, interior ministry rejects claims

14.08.19 ... The Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) could be facing job losses and cuts next year, according to a leaked internal communication. However, the interior ministry, responsible for the PPA, denies any such cuts are due. The ministry, via substitute spokesperson Martin Helme (EKRE), the current finance minister, also denies it plans to set up a rival "home defense reserve unit", tasked with crowd control, among other responsibilities.

Phishing scam mimics company staff emails, warns information authority

14.08.19 ... Cyber-criminals have been sending phishing emails to human resources departments at Estonian companies, in an effort to divert legitimate payroll payments to their own accounts, Baltic News Service reports.

Russian president to meet Finnish counterpart in Helsinki next week

14.08.19 ... Russian president Vladimir Putin is traveling to Helsinki, Finland, next Wednesday, meeting with his Finnish opposite number Sauli Niinistö.

Pensions hike depends on state of budget, says Isamaa leader

14.08.19 ... Isamaa leader Helir-Valdor Seeder confirmed the coalition government's agreement on pension reform, which he was the driving force behind to a large extent, to ERR Wednesday. Echoing comments he made after the agreement was struck on Monday evening, Seeder said that an extraordinary hike in pensions, which some in the government would link directly to savings made by the reforms, was less of a dead cert until budgetary opportunities to do so arose. He did not rule out the increase either, however.

EDF personnel in joint anti-terrorism operation in Mali

14.08.19 ... Estonian Defence Forces (EDF) personnel have been taking part in a joint operation in Mali, conducting building searches for illicit weaponry.

Kentucky Fried Chicken coming to Tallinn in October

14.08.19 ... Estonia is set to get its first ever Kentucky Fried Chicken fast food franchise in October, according to Baltic News Service.

Russia claims NATO jet 'chased off' by its fighters Tuesday

14.08.19 ... Russia says its planes warded off a NATO jet during a flight carrying its defense minister on Tuesday.

Animal welfare group highlights battery hen plight after air gun slaughter

14.08.19 ... An animal welfare organization has condemned an incident where air guns were used to slaughter hens at one of the largest poultry farms in the country, Baltic News Service reports.

Government to unveil state real estate purchase strategy Thursday

13.08.19 ... The coalition government agreed on its nationwide real estate investment strategy for the coming year at a meeting on Monday night, and is set to finalize its plans on Thursday.

Coalition agreed on pension reform bill, differ on ensuing pension hike

13.08.19 ... The coalition government came to an agreement Monday night to carry out pension reform in one move, with money saved contributing to a pension hike, ERR's online news in Estonian reports. The issue has seen some differences of opinion on making a pensions hike contingent on the bill, however, with Centre and EKRE broadly speaking in favor of this, and Isamaa more sceptical.

Benefits restructure sees rise in pension payouts despite fall in claimants

13.08.19 ... The amount paid out in state pensions rose in Q2 2019, compared with the previous quarter, even though the number of pensioners decreased, ERR's online news in Estonian reports.

Former Savisaar corruption co-defendant not to stand as witness

13.08.19 ... Attempts to call an additional witness in an ongoing, complex and somewhat chameleon-like corruption trial involving former Tallinn mayor Edgar Savisaar, a number of co-defendants, and the Centre Party itself, have been abandoned. The witness called was in fact himself a co-defendant in the trial, and the rationale was to cast doubt on his own trustworthiness rather than testifying on that of another.

Tallinna TV in likely layoffs, may close in 2020

13.08.19 ... Tallinna TV (TTV), a Tallinn city government-owned TV channel, is to make redundancies and may even close in 2020, ERR's online news in Estonian reports, citing daily Eesti Päevaleht (EPL).

Last Estonian fur farm company faces economic problems, expects recovery

13.08.19 ... Fur farms in Estonia have been closing their doors, citing economic factors. Only one company remains in operation in the country.

Alleged house fire murder victim youth died of carbon monoxide poisoning

13.08.19 ... A youth whose body was found by Rescue Board (Päästeamet) personnel attending a house fire in a South Estonian village earlier in the summer was alive when the building was set on fire, Baltic News Service reports.

Prime minister, incoming European Commission president, talk priorities

13.08.19 ... Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre) spoke to incoming European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Monday. The two talked cooperation and the incoming commission's political priorities, Baltic News Service reports.

Leaked audit office report slams hospitals, police capacity for crises

12.08.19 ... Some state institutions are unprepared for emergency situations, the National Audit Office (Riigikontroll) warns in a critical audit, which assessed the capacity of hospitals in critical situations, as well as criticizing organizational practices within the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA), Baltic News Service reports.

Gallery: Roadworks bring disruption to several main Tallinn routes

12.08.19 ... Several major Tallinn thoroughfares are set to be closed during the remainder of August. The disruption arises from roadworks, particularly in the Nõmme district, on Tallinn's southern outskirts. Some of the work will last just a few days, with longer projects lasting the rest of this year.

Businessman in kidnapping case gets community service plea bargain

12.08.19 ... Businessman Meelis Lao has been handed a 238-hour community service sentence after being charged with unlawful deprivation of liberty. The sentence replaces an eight-month jail term, as a result of a plea bargain, Baltic News Service reports.

ETV anchorman exchanges screen for ship galley in four-month voyage

12.08.19 ... ETV anchorman Priit Kuusk is to be absent from the screen for around four months, as he embarks on a voyage on board the Admiral Bellingshausen, an Estonian vessel bound for Antarctica, ERR's Menu portal reports.

Competition Authority: Hospitals should be able to import all medicines

12.08.19 ... Hospitals in Estonia should be able to import all types of pharmaceuticals, according to the Estonian Competition Authority (Konkurentsiamet). Currently hospitals are barred from importing certain medicines and pharmaceutical products.
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