13.07.20 ... Ohh, Isamaa is showing some teeth, several people interested in politics were surprised to note as they followed Isamaa and the Conservative People's Party of Estonia's (EKRE) verbal battles in recent weeks. In reality, however, Isamaa wasn't showing any teeth; it was reminding its coalition partner that it exists, journalist Toomas Sildam writes in an opinion piece.
12.07.20 ... Entrepreneurial people in the accommodation, catering or souvenir business in Southern Estonia are thinking of ways to benefit from Rally Estonia in September and have every right, Kaupo Meiel writes in Vikerraadio's daily comment.
09.07.20 ... Last week, an Estonian citizen won €11 million playing the lottery. It is the single biggest lottery win in the history of Estonia and makes the winner one of the wealthiest people in the country at least for a time. At the same time, playing the lottery is still an utterly senseless financial decision, even though it might be rational from an individual's point of view on certain conditions, ERR's Huko Aaspõllu says in Vikerraadio's daily comment.
07.07.20 ... Marking the 85th birthday of the 14th Dalai Lama on Monday, representatives of the Tibet Support Group of the Riigikogu, the Estonian Institute of Human Rights and the Estonian Institute of Buddhism as well as two-time former prime minister Mart Laar and former President Toomas Hendrik Ilves signed a letter in which they called on authorities and people in economics not to conclude agreements with an authoritarian country that may mean short-term gains, but also long-term damages.
05.07.20 ... No more than 100 years ago, old-age pension was incomprehensible for a great many people, while it came to ensure societies peace and prosperity for a long time. Basic income could help contain bureaucracy associated with other benefits and leave people healthier, happier and wiser, entrepreneur Lauri Tõnspoeg writes.
03.07.20 ... Municipal media doesn't solve a single public problem, while it helps those in power stay there with the help of public funds and constitutes unfair competition for private newspapers, Erik Gamzejev finds in Vikerraadio's daily comment.
02.07.20 ... Journalist Raimo Poom writes in an Eesti Päevaleht analysis (link in Estonian) that Andrus Ansip's efforts to add a measure of blue, black and white patriotism to the Reform Party and render it a mass political platform started the inevitable decline of Estonia's previously go-to conservative party Isamaa (formerly IRL), which work incoming EKRE chairman Martin Helme has a good chance to finish.
01.07.20 ... Martin Helme's biggest challenge as the incoming chairman of the national conservatives is to fight for new voters while trying to keep or find potential coalition partners, whereas those two struggles cannot be fought with the same weapons, journalist Toomas Sildam says in Vikerraadio's daily comment.
26.06.20 ... During the COVID-19 crisis, the government of Estonia's northern neighbor, Finland, based its decisions on national interest and looking after its own, writes Director of the Estonian Foreign Policy Institute at the International Centre for Defence and Security (ICDS) Kristi Raik, in an article on the ICDS website. Finland is likely to act in the same way in future crises, Raik argues, meaning Estonia should not get its hopes up on that front.
23.06.20 ... While Rail Baltic does not physically exist yet, it has been on the drawing board for many years and has brought into relief certain "self-evident" truths about Estonia which can then be tested, such as the oft-repeated claim (particularly by people outside Estonia) that it has a small population or that projects related to Estonia never seem to pay off when placed in an excel spreadsheet, writes ERR senior journalist Anvar Samost, in regional daily Põhjarannik.
19.06.20 ... The government cut Health Board director general Merike Jürilo loose. Whether there was real reason to do so, however, isn't possible to judge from the outside, writes ERR radio news chief Indrek Kiisler.
18.06.20 ... Tallinn University of Technology (TalTech) macroeconomics professor Karsten Staehr comments on the potential lack of Estonian professors in the future, saying that in order to make doctoral studies more attractive, students must be given conditions equal or better than those offered by private business or the public sector.
17.06.20 ... Auditor General Karl Soonpää's diary entry from June 17, 1940 – 80 years ago.
15.06.20 ... Swiss national and Estonian resident Dario Cavegn addressed the Riigikogu's Constitutional Committee on Monday at an event which marked the centennial of the signing of the original Estonian constitution.
15.06.20 ... The idea of a night-watchman state and neoliberalism have become so unpopular that it will hardly prove possible to reanimate them in recent form. Tõnis Saarts writes about what could take their place in a comment originally published in the Sirp magazine.
11.06.20 ... Semiotics professor and Riigikogu member Mihhail Lotman commented on protests and restlessness in America, saying that part of the anti-racism discourse from white people portrays black people as incomplete, and who need to be told fairytales, not the truth.
11.06.20 ... Many countries are now reopening after a major part of the world has been put on lockdown to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. A number of economic activities have been put on hold, people have almost stopped flying for three months and there have been many reports of localized air quality improvements. Carbon emissions are expected to drop by 8 percent according to the International Energy Agency (IEA); however, this should barely have any effect on the climate crisis. The reason is only the transformation of industry and technology can really address needed structural issues causing climate change, writes Taavi Madiberk, CEO of Estonian tech firm Skeleton Technologies.
10.06.20 ... It is important for Estonian companies not to get used to broad-based subsidies and for society to remain constructively skeptical of every new measure. Enterprise does not need support but equal treatment, Aivar Hundimägi finds in Vikerraadio's daily comment.
10.06.20 ... Prime Minister Jüri Ratas, who finds himself in the €50,000 scandal, is pulling out all the stops to come off as a bystander," Indrek Kiisler writes.
09.06.20 ... The Lihula shooting is yet another traumatic experience Estonians have not gone through in such a form before. However, it includes enough similarities with other tragic incidents to provide food for a few lessons, journalism scholar Marju Himma finds in Vikerraadio's daily comment.
09.06.20 ... Adding rural area patrols and introducing tougher weapons permit conditions would not bring back the two people killed near Lihula, while it would be the least the state could do with this tragedy in mind, journalist Toomas Sildam writes.
08.06.20 ... There is a symbolic bridge connecting Estonia and Finland: centuries-old close relations between two countries and peoples, the importance of which is especially clear now that the movement of people between the two countries has been halted for several months due to the coronavirus crisis, write Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) and Finnish Minister of Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto on the centennial of Estonian-Finnish diplomatic relations.
07.06.20 ... Internal security planning will prioritize all interior ministry tasks being equally executable in the future. That is also one of the reasons why border guard has been paid more attention lately, adviser to the interior minister Kaido Sirman writes.
07.06.20 ... Banks and credit rating agencies have taken a clear stance that investments in shale oil operations by the state-owned Eesti Energia – whether made by the state on behalf of the taxpayers, or by the private sector – are too high of a risk. This raises questions about the conditions under which Eesti Energia seeks foreign debt for its planned shale oil plant, and whether taxpayers' money should be used to desperately hang on to this unreliable sector.
04.06.20 ... Rulers have clearly recovered from the virus. While the powers that be, in a surprise move, latched onto opinions by scientists and other experts in the coronavirus crisis, the door has now been slammed shut once more in the face of facts and knowledge, Kaarel Tarand says in Vikerraadio's daily comment.
04.06.20 ... Attacking foreign seasonal labor and criticizing farmers and horticulturists has proved an unpleasant and lingering topic for the Conservative People's Party (EKRE) that might even end up impacting its rating.
03.06.20 ... While the Ministry of Social Affairs felt people who leave employment voluntarily or following an agreement by the parties should qualify for the unemployment insurance benefit in spring, the government has shelved the initiative following the coronavirus wave. At the same time, people whose employment contract ends under such circumstances have several simple schemes at their disposal to still qualify for the benefit, Huko Aaspõllu says in Vikerraadio's daily comment.
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.
02.06.20 ... Ninety Estonian public figures, opinion leaders and creative persons are turning to the government with a public letter, asking it to revoke the building permit for the new Enefit282 oil plant and pull state support for the project. ERR News publishes the address in full.
02.06.20 ... What this bill suggests is that politics is horse-trading and saving one's own skin that has nothing whatsoever to do with the Estonian people and the future of the country, Kaja Kallas said in the Riigikogu during the first reading of the bill that seeks to abolish the Political Parties Financing Surveillance Committee (ERJK).
31.05.20 ... Temporary work has been a springboard for foreign labor to move to Estonia permanently. If we believe in the future of our society and the state's continued prosperity is more important to us than short-term gain, we will not use cheap foreign labor, Jaak Valge writes.
31.05.20 ... The ongoing healthcare crisis has been both tragic and enlightening. I've learned that we will never fly again, we will never travel again; never return to the office, restaurant, movies, theater, spa or – God forbid – the pub, Peeter Koppel writes.
29.05.20 ... When public attitudes in a democratic country become guided, then in the next wave of the coronavirus, society will probably no longer consent to the same restrictions, no matter how they get communicated, journalist and film director Ilmar Raag finds.
27.05.20 ... Did those seeking the dissolution of the Political Parties Financing Surveillance Committee believe it would go unnoticed or are they simply not interested in the reaction of the public and experts? If the coalition no longer cares about public opinion, democracy is not working," Külli Taro says in Vikerraadio's daily comment.
27.05.20 ... The Ministry of the Interior has been looking to make it more difficult for foreign students to study in Estonia for months, with plans for a bill opposed by almost all important stakeholders under the guise of combating COVID-19, Eleri Pilliroog writes.
26.05.20 ... The quality of legislative drafting in Estonia has dropped to a level where we can no longer speak of isolated mistakes but rather a general trend that seems to suggest professional competency required for preparing legal acts has disappeared from ministries, Priit Pikamäe writes.
24.05.20 ... We needed three decades and the most unusual crisis situation of the past century to prove what has really been known for decades – that Estonia's Russians care about the country they inhabit, Tõnis Saarts says in Vikerraadio's daily comment.
20.05.20 ... Progress on the Rail Baltic project was helped by a recent Supreme Court ruling as only a single challenge of more than 20 presented by the project's opponents was satisfied, Kristjan Kaunissaare writes.
19.05.20 ... Despite all the preparations, plans and training, neither Estonia nor any other country was ready for the crisis. It is our duty to learn from the situation. We need to come out on the other side of it smarter, stronger and more resilient, Prime Minister Jüri Ratas says in a political statement delivered in front of the Riigikogu.
17.05.20 ... If Estonia is truly independent, we need to be careful not only of Chinese technology but also that of our main NATO ally the United States, MEP Yana Toom writes.
13.05.20 ... The Estonian Media Enterprises Association turned to the government in the name of its members to ask for direct support in connection with falling advertising revenue. The association never considered making even the slightest compromise in terms of its role as society's watchdog, giving up media freedom when it made its request," Merle Viirmaa writes.
13.05.20 ... Coalition MPs supported a reasonable proposal on Monday, but at the same time an unreasonable one was voted down, in so doing providing balance, writes Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) MP Ruuben Kaalep, in response to a piece which originally appeared in ERR's online news in Estonian, and is in English here.
11.05.20 ... Our Russian-speaking population mainly watches Russian state programming that offers them another country's perspective on the War and history. Winners write their own history, which possibility Russia has made rather creative use of, Helir-Valdor Seeder writes.
11.05.20 ... Rules for state holdings in struggling companies set. Comment by sworn lawyers Kaspar Endrikson and Carri Ginter.
11.05.20 ... Nearly 80 countries in the UN responded to Estonia's invitation to discuss the lessons of World War II but... this meeting didn't even take place, writes journalist Toomas Sildam.
10.05.20 ... The recent "Mets" (Forest) yearbook suggests that there are some 100,000 private forest owners in Estonia, which is also how many different views we have in terms of how forests should be managed. A diverse approach in terms of how to care for and manage private forests can ensure their versatility, sustainability and biodiversity, Ando Eelmaa writes.
08.05.20 ... While World War Two, at least in Europe, ended 75 years ago to the day, its legacy is still as relevant as ever, particularly against the backdrop of those who would seek to rewrite history, writes defense minister Jüri Luik (Isamaa).
07.05.20 ... Kaarel Tarand thinks about death in Vikerraadio's daily comment and finds that immortality will never be found, no matter how much one borrows to get there.
05.05.20 ... The global COVID-19 pandemic has been taking a toll on the transatlantic family for some weeks, while it has taught Estonia and its allies in NATO many important lessons, writes Kristjan Mäe, head of the Ministry of Defense's NATO and EU department.
05.05.20 ... Ukraine has faced a long, hard road in its journey towards full national identity so far, writes noted Finnish-Estonian writer Sofi Oksanen, in a piece in cooperation with the communistcrimes.org portal. There can be no looking back if it is to divest itself further of the Soviet legacy.
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