Opinion

Tõnis Saarts: The fading of Isamaa?

22.06.21 OPINION ... The key to the future of the Isamaa party lies in whether Helir-Valdor Seeder's victorious camp can muster enough political magnanimity not to oust the defeated Parempoolsed (Right-wingers) or ignore their board members and try to involve them instead, political scientist Tõnis Saarts finds in Vikerraadio's daily comment.

Indrek Kiisler: Infighting will render the green turn an endless nightmare

20.06.21 OPINION ... It is depressing to see and hear people verbally pound one another into the ground when debating environmental issues. Neither side has been ready to even entertain the possibility of compromise. It requires leaving behind the phase of mutual denial, Indrek Kiisler says in Vikerraadio's daily comment.

Aimar Ventsel: Estonian interests in the race for the Arctic

20.06.21 OPINION ... Estonia could contribute through digital solutions for developing energy-efficient and weatherproof buildings in the Arctic. Estonia is also unique as the center for the Finno-Ugric movement. However, Estonia first needs an Arctic strategy and corresponding funding, Aimar Ventsel writes in a comment originally published in the Diplomaatia magazine.

Kaimar Karu: EKRE-style populism is not what the Estonian people need

18.06.21 OPINION ... The Estonian people do not need the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE), though they equally do not need any of the other current parties – be it the coalition partners Reform and Center, opposition parties Isamaa and the Social Democrats (SDE), or the non-parliamentary Eesti 200 or the Greens, former IT and foreign trade minister Kaimar Karu noted on his social media page Thursday.

Aivar Hundimägi: Much ado about taxes

15.06.21 OPINION ... Both head of the Reform Party Kaja Kallas and Center Party leader Jüri Ratas have supported reforming and modernizing the Estonian tax system in words. Unfortunately, the actions of neither seem to suggest any real willingness to tackle the issue, Aivar Hundimägi says in Vikerraadio's daily comment.

Jaak Aaviksoo: On more than legal education

15.06.21 OPINION ... Top jurists' "deep concern for the status quo and moreover the future of legal education in Estonia" expressed in a recent public address definitely deserves a debate that goes beyond narrow professional circles, Jaak Aaviksoo writes.

Paul Keres: The tyranny of spiteful incompetence

13.06.21 OPINION ... Had Tallink not taken its vaccination proposal to the press, nothing would have happened. Is the fear of negative PR really the only driving force in this country, Paul Keres asks.

Daily: Where is the foreign minister and what is she doing?

10.06.21 OPINION ... Several recent diplomatic incidents affecting Estonia and relating to Finland, Belarus and also China have shown up incumbent foreign minister Eva-Maria Liimets (Center) as ineffectual, an opinion piece in daily Eesti Päevaleht (EPL) claims, while at the same time another Baltic State, Lithuania, has grabbed the bill by the horns, at least with Belarus and China.

Top conductor: Opera house discussions mired in cognitive dissonance

09.06.21 CULTURE ... Discussions on the potential extension of the Estonia Theater, home of the National Opera (Rahvusooper) and Ballet so far consist mainly of hot air, while there has been little substantive discussion, the national opera's artistic director, conductor Arvo Volmer, says.

Kalle Koop: Looks like the government finds Estonia too safe

08.06.21 OPINION ... Life in Estonia is too safe. That is how the Estonian Rescue Workers Union interprets the position of the government following its decision to cut the budgets of security institutions during fiscal strategy deliberations, Kalle Koop writes.

Toomas Sildam: Tax reform debate and local elections

08.06.21 OPINION ... It would be very interesting to see the Reform Party and Center Party working together, trying to answer the question of what kind of a tax reform Estonia needs, Toomas Sildam writes in his weekly comment.

Aivar Riisalu: Band and chaplains just the tip of the iceberg

06.06.21 OPINION ... I fully support hiking defense spending to a level that corresponds to the security situation and modernization of weapons. But weapons do not fight wars, people do, Aivar Riisalu writes.

Indrek Kiisler: On summoning Finland's ambassador to the carpet

04.06.21 OPINION ... The Finnish Government has given the thumbs down to the fundamental values of the European Union and the free movement of people and workers, throughout the coronavirus crisis. It has made no compromises. I await a time, however, when the Finnish ambassador to Estonia will be called to the carpet and informed that bilateral relations have suffered irreversible harm, writes head of ERR radio news Indrek Kiisler.

Raul Rebane: Iti's essay and presidential elections

03.06.21 OPINION ... We are not electing a president for a political party, we are electing the president of Estonia. We do not need to search for a political product but a truly gifted and educated person, Raul Rebane finds in Vikerraadio's daily comment.

Mihkel Mutt: The jack-o'-lantern of direct elections

03.06.21 OPINION ... Debating the presidential institution in general and direct presidential elections more narrowly is a national pastime in Estonia and similarly reveals general collective quirks and narrow hidden agendas, Mihkel Mutt writes.

Lauri Vahtre: Kuusik, Kaunissaar and section 22

01.06.21 OPINION ... It worries me that ignoring section 22 of the Estonian Constitution has been ignored for decades. It only came up once the judge had acquitted Marti Kuusik also in this case, Lauri Vahtre writes.

Tõnis Saarts: Unlikely tax debate and the burden of path dependence

01.06.21 OPINION ... The Reform Party is likely to meet the looming tax debate with arguments to defend its neoliberal legacy from the 1990s. Fresh and radical ideas are hardly in the pipeline, political scientist Tõnis Saarts finds.

Henn Põlluaas: Who else benefits from defense cuts besides Russia?

30.05.21 OPINION ... Does anyone else, besides Russia, stand to gain from defense cuts in Estonia? I hope the coalition will seriously ponder this question and abandon its incomprehensible austerity plan, Henn Põlluaas writes.

'Rahva teenrid': Presidential elections will reenergize coalition

29.05.21 OPINION ... The Reform Party is playing a delicate game in the run-up to this autumn's presidential elections, in an effort to avoid a repeat performance of fall 2016, when the party found itself excluded from office shortly after Kersti Kaljulaid becoming head of state, panelists on Vikerraadio politics show 'Rahva teenrid' found Saturday afternoon.

Developer: New parking regulation will not bring green capital title closer

27.05.21 OPINION ... The city of Tallinn's new parking regulation would not solve the capital's parking problem. While hiking the prices of parking permits for residents would help fill the treasury, the dog lies buried elsewhere, Ain Kivisaar writes.

Raimond Kaljulaid: Estonia needs deliberate tax reforms

27.05.21 OPINION ... We need a government that can really delve deep in the expenses and income sides of the state budget. Estonia needs thorough and deliberate tax reform instead of mechanical cuts, Raimond Kaljulaid writes.

Extent of foreign military police authority questioned after Tapa incident

22.05.21 OPINION ... Questions over the wider implications of the interface between local residents of the Lääne-Viru County town of Tapa and NATO military personnel from a major base just outside the town have arisen following a recent incident which required the attendance of British Royal Military Police (RMP) personnel.

Toidupank founder: By reducing food waste we can reduce climate change

14.05.21 OPINION ... A considerable part of climate change is caused by food waste. Food waste is a waste of land, water, energy, labour and other resources. It is unethical and leads to huge amount of greenhouse emissions, says Piet Boerefijn, founder and manager of the Toidupank ('Food Bank') charity, which collects surplus food from supermarkets and redistributes it to those in need.

Historian: 8-9 May - How and why do we remember the end of WW2 in Europe?

09.05.21 OPINION ... May 8 marks the anniversary of the German surrendered to Allied forces in 1945, which brought an end to the Second World War in Europe. Some former Eastern Bloc states, including Russia, mark this anniversary instead on May 9, accounting for the difference in time zones between Eastern and Western Europe. For many, May 9 has become a day of celebration, honoring the triumph over the Axis powers. However, writes Estonian historian David Vseviov, it would be more constructive, and more pertinent, to learn from the past rather than venerate it.

Justice chancellor: Government restrictions influenced by public opinion

07.05.21 OPINION ... Many of the government's coronavirus restrictions have been imposed under the influence of public opinion, while not all of them have been absolutely essential, justice chancellor Ülle Madise told commercial radio station Raadio Kuku on Friday.

Finance minister: We have money for good projects to shape the future

07.05.21 OPINION ... On Thursday, Minister of Finance Keit Pentus-Rosimannus (Reform) gave a speech in Riigikogu about how Estonia will use EU funds in the coming years. She outlined her vision for Estonia as a leader in sustainability and the green economy and gave an overview of how EU funds are to be used to achieve this goal. ERR News has republished the minister's speech.

Outgoing NATO eFP commander: We stand side by side – and fully integrated

05.05.21 OPINION ... Today Estonian, United Kingdom and French troops are busy preparing for the annual Spring Storm exercise, the highlight of the training year, where we will be able to will reap the benefits of all the hard work we have put in to integration.

'Samost ja Sildam': State budget strategy only interim document

02.05.21 OPINION ... While the state budget strategy for 2022-2025, which austerity measures totaling cuts of €61 million in a year, may have passed government approval this week, the document is interim in nature and unlikely to form a solid basis for government activities going forward, senior ERR journalists Anvar Samost and Toomas Sildam say.

Chancellor: Wholesale closure of restaurants not justified

29.04.21 NEWS ... Chancellor of Justice Ülle Madise says coronavirus restrictions as applied to restaurants and other eateries, while they do not violate principles of equal treatment, have not been sufficiently justified on a legal basis.

Toomas Sildam: Jüri Ratas dictating pace on search for next president

26.04.21 OPINION ... Until Jüri Ratas (Center) declares his hand on this fall's presidential elections, predicting who out of any other potential candidates, including the current incumbent, Kersti Kaljulaid, makes little sense, senior ERR journalist Toomas Sildam writes.

Ivo Juurvee: Russian intelligence activities need to be publicly opposed

25.04.21 OPINION ... It is impossible to have the broth thicker on one side of the cauldron in counterintelligence – international cooperation is needed. Ignoring unacceptable acts abroad or keeping them quiet at home will result in more victims in the future, Ivo Juurvee writes in a comment originally published in the Diplomaatia magazine.

Tõnis Saarts: EKRE political communication master class

25.04.21 OPINION ... The Conservative People's Party (EKRE) using the NETS protests to boost its support rating serves as a textbook example.

James York: New U.S. trends important for Estonian economy

21.04.21 OPINION ... A grand shift in thought patterns is taking place in USA following the change of administration the importance of which for the Estonian economy cannot be overestimated, James York writes.

Kaido Padar: Efforts to develop public transport cannot be splintered

20.04.21 OPINION ... While cheap tickets undoubtedly matter to public transport users, boosting the speed and quality of public transport to make it attractive to those who currently prefer to use a personal vehicle is even more important, Kaido Padar writes.

Samost ja Sildam: Authorities should admit mistakes over COVID-19 protests

19.04.21 OPINION ... The substantial police presence at anti-lockdown protests in Estonia recently was the topic of Sunday's Vikerraadio head-to-head current affairs discussion show "Samost ja Sildam". The topic split the titular presenters, with Samost saying that involving the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) on the scale that had been done was a mistake, while Sildam felt the response had been proportionate.

Toomas Sildam: Estonia did not embark on Afghan mission to bring democracy

19.04.21 OPINION ... The nation of Afghanistan has demonstrated once again – as it had to the Soviet Union in the 1980s – that while it can be taken over by sheer military force, winning over society to your side, or defeating it outright, are not possible, senior ERR journalist Toomas Sildam finds.

Mari-Liis Jakobson: Street politics all the rage in Estonia

18.04.21 OPINION ... Mari-Liis Jakobson compares recent protests with past examples in Vikerraadio's daily comment. While Estonians have traditionally been slow to protest, some parallels can be drawn, she finds.

Karilaid: EKRE success at self-destruction and the eternal Center Party

18.04.21 OPINION ... Why should the Center Party worry about EKRE? Yes, they have temporarily become the second most popular party, with their vertigo now obvious. But their statements will culminate in a painful hangover. The Center Party will not allow them to spin lies of a police state, coercive treatment and the dangers of the European Union, Jaanus Karilaid writes.

Indrek Kiisler: EKRE knows to take people by the hand

18.04.21 OPINION ... The Conservative People's Party (EKRE) has an uncanny ability to gauge and capitalize on moods in society. Other parties, especially the Social Democrats and Isamaa, have a lot to learn from this.

Public address: On influence activities of the People's Republic of China

16.04.21 OPINION ... Influence activity pursued by the People's Republic of China is a threat to academic and press freedoms. A public letter to the Riigikogu, government, boards of Estonian universities, independent research institutions, journalistic publications and all scientists, teachers, journalists, culture workers and politicians in Estonia.

Taavi Veskimägi: European investments to take defense industry to new level

14.04.21 OPINION ... Estonian research and development in the field of defense has for the first time secured major funding from the European Union. Defense development projects have previously fallen to member states and contractors, Taavi Veskimägi writes.

Raimond Kaljulaid: White book a good initiative from the Kallas government

13.04.21 OPINION ... Every plan that is still in the debate phase can be criticized and scoured for discrepancies, while it seems the Government Office has generally done a good job on the so-called white book, Raimond Kaljulaid writes.

Toomas Sildam: Estonia reached out but Russia did not reciprocate

13.04.21 OPINION ... Minister of Foreign Affairs Eva-Maria Liimets showed initiative when she requested a phone call with her Russian colleague Sergey Lavrov. The call was necessary – Russia does not want to ratify the border agreement it signed with Estonia seven years ago, Toomas Sildam writes.

Paloma Krõõt Tupay: Are we on the verge of creating a police state?

11.04.21 OPINION ... Will the planned amendment to the Communicable Diseases Prevention and Control Act (NETS) lay the foundation for a totalitarian state? No, it will not. However, it also fails to help us move closer to a clearer, more surefooted legal order, jurist Paloma Krõõt Tupay writes.

A nightclub a safe place, while home is not

08.04.21 OPINION ... Even though safety in public places still needs to be promoted through better street lighting, it is more urgent to learn to listen to what is happening behind closed doors as victims of violence suffer from mental health issues in addition to direct health damage.

Huko Aaspõllu: Economic boom around the corner

08.04.21 OPINION ... We are about to enter a coronavirus recovery boom. The economy opening up is a matter of a few months. At the same time, we should not forget that not everyone has been hit equally in the crisis and for those who drew the shortest stick, recovery might even work to deepen inequality, Huko Aaspõllu finds in Vikerraadio's daily comment.

April 1 through the prism of humor or farewell blue Thursday

06.04.21 OPINION ... Thousands of email inboxes all over the land came under an avalanche of press releases, memos and resolutions starting on the morning of April 1 with which the public sector and private companies saw fit to celebrate the international day of humor. More than a few journalists have been hospitalized following exhaustion from reading so many funny emails.

Signe Riisalo: Average pension should be and remain exempt from income tax

06.04.21 OPINION ... Pension hikes need to continue also in the coming years. What is more, additional sums should not be swallowed by income tax – the average pension needs to be and remain exempt from income tax. The state should not hike pensions with one hand while taking it back in the form of income tax with the other, Signe Riisalo writes.

Leo Rummel: Estonia needs a major science and technology discovery center

01.04.21 OPINION ... Industry is moving toward automation and digitalization in the modern world and Estonia is in desperate need of industrial and product design engineers who could bring new ideas and introduce new technologies, Leo Rummel writes.

Vladimir Svet: Let us make mass testing happen in Lasnamäe

01.04.21 OPINION ... Extensive mass testing is needed to stop the spread of the coronavirus in Tallinn's largest borough. The major undertaking is feasible despite its complexity, while experience of other countries suggests it has the potential to cut infection rates in half, Vladimir Svet writes.

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