Chair of Isamaa on best practice document

22.04.21 NEWS ... The best practices document approved by the board of opposition party Isamaa refers to options for party members who stand against the party's views to be expelled. Leaders of the party's Parempoolsed faction are critical of the document, while the chair, Helir-Valdor Seeder, admits that the new order partly arose from the Parempoolsed's emergence itself.

Survey: Pollsters split on most popular presidential candidate

22.04.21 NEWS ... Polls by two different market research companies are split on who the most popular choice is for Estonia's next president, with one survey putting current Riigkogu speaker and former prime minister Jüri Ratas (Center) at the top, while the other found most support for current incumbent Kersti Kaljulaid returning for a second term.

President: Afghanistan must not slip off international radar

22.04.21 NEWS ... Estonia will be in the vanguard of international efforts to make Afghanistan a safer and more secure place, President Kersti Kaljulaid said during an official visit to that country Wednesday, where the current security situation, and that of the future, was very much on the table.

Riigikogu committee aiming for May 4 PPA/Health Board powers bill reading

21.04.21 POLITICS ... The Riigikogu's social affairs committee has approved a bill which would amend existing legislation in order to grant the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) more scope in ensuring compliance with coronavirus restrictions. The bill had been the focus of protests in Tallinn, culminating in the detention of several people the Sunday before last.

'Reporteritund': MEPs back EU vaccine passport, skeptical on roll-out pace

21.04.21 NEWS ... Some of Estonia's seven MEPs say they support the European Union coronavirus vaccine passport proposal, in part simply to kick-start the union's economy, but doubt that it will be rolled out any time soon.

President's Afghanistan visit still set to go ahead

20.04.21 NEWS ... President Kersti Kaljulaid's planned visit to Afghanistan is still going ahead, her office says, though a precise date for the trip has not been announced.

Survey: Ratas most popular choice for prime minister

20.04.21 NEWS ... Chairman of the Center Party Jüri Ratas is the most popular choice for prime minister, results of a study by newspaper Eesti Päevaleht show.

Foreign minister condemns Russia military build-up on Ukraine borders

20.04.21 NEWS ... Foreign minister Eva-Maria Liimets has hit out at the massing of military forces by the Russian Federation, close to its borders with Ukraine. The events have led to a considerable rise in tensions, Liimets said at a meeting of European Union foreign ministers Monday.

President condemns Russia military build-up on Ukraine border

20.04.21 NEWS ... President Kersti Kaljulaid has condemned the Russian Federation's military build-up along its border with Ukraine, at a UN Security Council (UNSC) meeting which took place Monday.

US law firm claiming €60,000 contract termination fee from Estonia

20.04.21 NEWS ... A law firm which was set to represent Estonia in money laundering hearings in the United States is claiming €60,000 from the Estonian state, following the scrapping of the controversial deal. The finance ministry is reportedly disputing the claim, as well as those on outstanding invoices.

e-Residency scheme sees state take record €17.5 million tax revenue in 2020

19.04.21 ECONOMY ... Tax take from Estonia's e-residency system rose by around a third on year to 2020, state agency Enterprise Estonia reports, a record year in terms of direct economic impact since the system was launched in 2014.

'Otse uudistemajast': EKRE manipulating protests better than other parties

16.04.21 POLITICS ... ERR's weekly politics discussion show "Otse uudistemajast" looked at the recent growth in support for the opposition Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE), noting that while recent protests were definitely relevant, they were not the whole picture.

Prime minister: China appeal welcome address on concerning issue

16.04.21 NEWS ... Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) says that activities by the government organs of the People's Republic of China are an increasing challenge for Estonia, other small countries, and democracies as a whole. She has also welcomed an open letter published Wednesday, which expressed concerns and issued a call to action on the issue.

Party ratings: Protests likely behind EKRE record support levels

16.04.21 POLITICS ... Opposition Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) has reached record levels of support in the annals of one market research firm's political surveys. A major factor for this is recent protests against legislation amendments which would boost police powers in enforcing coronavirus restrictions, pollsters Turu-uuringute say. EKRE has been active in opposing the amendments.

Isamaa rift after board extended one year, general meeting postponed

15.04.21 NEWS ... Opposition party Isamaa is postponing its general assembly this year amid a continuing divide between the party's official mainstream and its Parempoolsed ("Right wingers") faction, ostensibly due to coronavirus restrictions preventing large gatherings. This means the party's elected board term will be prolonged by one year.

Law axing obligation to pass exams to graduate high school passes Riigikogu

15.04.21 NEWS ... A law which can remove the requirement to pass or even take school exams in order to graduate high school passed its Riigikogu vote Wednesday evening, ahead of the first of these exams taking place next week.

Supplementary state budget passes Riigikogu vote

15.04.21 NEWS ... The supplementary budget issued in response to the continuing coronavirus pandemic passed its Riigikogu vote Wednesday evening by 73 votes to 9, meaning the €641-million aid package, aimed at mitigating the effects of the pandemic, and ensuing restrictions, on the health care system, education, business, and the populace as a whole, will enter into effect.

EKRE leader: We can find compromise on police powers legislation

14.04.21 NEWS ... The Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) is ready to reach compromise on legislation which it has opposed up to now, that party's leader, Martin Helme, says.

Estonia still owes €200,000 to Louis Freeh's law firm

14.04.21 NEWS ... Estonia still has roughly €200,000 worth of unpaid bills from Freeh Sporkin & Sullivan. The Ministry of Finance says that the money will not be paid before the law firm provides a clear overview of what it has been doing since last summer.

Ratings: Reform remains on top, EKRE endangering Center in Ida-Viru County

14.04.21 POLITICS ... There have been no changes to the top three of party support rankings with Reform comfortably atop the mountain, but the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) could soon endanger Center Party's position in Ida-Viru County, the latest results of a survey conducted by pollster Norstat show.

Minister: Claims PPA will be allowed to drag sick from homes are false

14.04.21 POLITICS ... Interior minister Kristian Jaani (Center) has called claims that a proposed legislation change would grant the police powers to forcibly remove the sick from their homes nothing more than malicious, fake news.

Minister: Afghanistan decision to be made soon, in light of US withdrawal

14.04.21 NEWS ... News that United States President Joe Biden will be withdrawing his country's troops from Afghanistan before the end of this year has prompted Estonia to weigh up following suit, defense minister Kalle Laanet (Reform) says.

Priit Sibul replacing Viktoria Ladõnskaja-Kubits on ERR supervisory board

13.04.21 NEWS ... Isamaa MP Viktoria Ladõnskaja-Kubits is stepping down from her post on the supervisory board at public broadcaster ERR. Ladõnskaja-Kubits will be replaced by the party's Riigikogu group chair, Priit Sibul.

Police powers legislation amends may stall at the Riigikogu

13.04.21 NEWS ... Controversial legal amends which would beef up police powers may stall in the face of filibustering efforts at the Riigikogu, an opposition Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) MP says. However, an MP from the coalition Center Party says that the pandemic situation makes delay tactics inappropriate

Interior minister: Free speech in Estonia remains intact

13.04.21 NEWS ... Interior minister Kristian Jaani says that additional powers the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) would get under draft legislative changes would only be intended for health crises such as the current COVID-19 pandemic, and not a general change. The expression of free speech is fully intact, he adds.

EKRE receives €18,000 in donations over first quarter

12.04.21 POLITICS ... The Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) collected €18,021 in donations over the first quarter with MP Jaak Valge's €3,100 the largest donation in that period.

Urmas Sõõrumaa's €45,000 donation the largest for Center Party

12.04.21 POLITICS ... Businessman and president of the Estonian Olympic Committee Urmas Sõõrumaa donated €45,000 to the Center Party in the first quarter. The party took in €105,200 in donations over the quarter.

ISS: Twenty individuals with links to Estonia may be in Syria war zone

12.04.21 NEWS ... Around twenty people with ties to Estonia are in or have been in the Syrian Civil War conflict zone, the Internal Security Services (ISS) reported in its 2020/2021 Yearbook, which published Monday.

ISS: Rise of extremism in Estonia continues to be of concern

12.04.21 NEWS ... Rising radicalization and the propagation of extremist and terrorist ideologies are concern for the Internal Security Service (ISS), the organization says in its 2020/2021 yearbook, which published Monday. Quelling the problem before it gets out of hand is essential, and the issue is one which society as a whole must be aware of, the authority said.

MEP Madison fired from auxiliary police position

12.04.21 NEWS ... MEP Jaak Madison (EKRE) has been removed from his role as an auxiliary police officer, he says, following public remarks he made on participation in mass protests against coronavirus restrictions. One such protest took place Sunday in central Tallinn.

Defense minister: Estonia is ready to increase its defense readiness

10.04.21 NEWS ... The transfer of Russian troops to the border areas of Ukraine means that there may also be a need to increase defense readiness in Estonia - if so, Estonia is ready for that, Minister of Defense Kalle Laanet (Reform) said on Friday. The international community must also put pressure on Russia to avoid a wider conflict in Ukraine, experts said.

PM: It is time for society to take back control from coronavirus

08.04.21 NEWS ... Prime Minister Kaja Kallas on Thursday introduced to the parliament a plan for organizing the society during the coronavirus pandemic, which describes the principles of decision-making and activities needed for Estonia to recover from the virus crisis.

Wise co-founder: Estonia needs changes in political landscape to improve

08.04.21 NEWS ... A recent €50,000 donation from technological companies to Estonian parties stems from a desire to see change in the political landscape as that is the way to improve the country, said Transferwise (now known as Wise - ed) co-founder Taavet Hinrikus.

Kallas to introduce plan to mitigate effects of coronavirus

07.04.21 NEWS ... Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) will make a political statement at 10 a.m. on Thursday to introduce a plan to mitigate the effects of the coronavirus.

Isamaa Party wants to postpone board election

07.04.21 NEWS ... The Isamaa Party's board agreed on Tuesday to make a proposal to postpone the election of the board arguing the general assembly cannot be held this year due to the pandemic.

Eesti 200 board member: There is no political leader in current situation

07.04.21 NEWS ... In the current crisis, no one in the government has shown they have the skills, knowledge or readiness to take responsibility and Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) should demand Minister of Health and Labor Tanel Kiik's (Center) resignation before people start demanding hers, member of the board of Eesti 200 Margus Tsahkna has said.

Ratings: Reform continues steady hold over party support rankings

07.04.21 POLITICS ... Reform Party continues its reign atop party support rankings, leaving Center Party and the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) far behind, the latest results of a survey conducted by pollster Norstat, shows.

Riigikogu finance committee rejects amendments to supplementary budget bill

05.04.21 POLITICS ... The Riigikogu finance committee decided on Monday to turn down the proposals filed to amend the 2021 supplementary budget bill. After a vote, the committee made a proposal to the plenary to finish the second reading of the bill, spokespeople for the parliament said.

State yet to pay out 'roof money' allocation to anti-abortion NGO

05.04.21 NEWS ... The anti-abortion non-profit association Elu Marss (March of Life), which was allocated the largest amount of what is commonly dubbed "roof money" from the state budget this year, has not yet been paid the €171,000 for operating support - the financial plans were disrupted by the change of government in January, daily newspaper Postimees reported.

Former member of Isamaa Party to join Eesti 200

05.04.21 NEWS ... Entrepreneur Joakim Helenius has left the Isamaa Party and its member association Parempoolsed (Right-wingers) and will join Eesti 200, the party announced.

Paper: Isamaa women's group announces Riina Solman Tallinn mayor candidate

04.04.21 2021 LOCAL GOVERNMENT ELECTIONS ... Former government minister Riina Solman has been announced Isamaa's Tallinn mayoral candidate in October's local elections, at least by the party's women's council (Isamaa naiskogu), evening paper Õhtuleht reported on its website Sunday.

Trade minister: Need to avoid overemphasis on protectionism

04.04.21 NEWS ... Estonia should be mindful of evolving attitudes to foreign trade, both within the European Union and within the framework of the World Trade Organization (WTO), as well as other contexts, Minister for Foreign Trade and IT Andres Sutt (Reform) says.

Government approves €46-million COVID-19 support for regions

04.04.21 CORONAVIRUS ... The government has approved €46-million in local support, which puts a particular emphasis on Ida-Viru County.

Isamaa chairman: The government's first steps with covid were controversial

01.04.21 POLITICS ... Chairman of the Isamaa Party MP Helir Valdor-Seeder told ETV's political interview show "Esimene stuudio" on Wednesday that the current government's first steps with establishing coronavirus restrictions in spring were controversial and easing them needs to be looked at carefully.

President Kaljulaid: Estonia support for Ukraine not dented by pandemic

01.04.21 NEWS ... Estonia stands as fully in support of Ukraine in combating the coronavirus pandemic and procuring vaccines as it does in its territorial issues, President Kersti Kaljulaid said Wednesday evening.

Court rules Nordica is successor to Estonian Air, inherits its debts

31.03.21 ECONOMY ... State airline Nordica has been recognized as a legal successor to the now-defunct Estonian Air, a recent court ruling states. This means that, among other things, Nordica must both foot the bill of unpaid staff wages and return state aid granted to Estonian Air and now ruled as illegal. However, while this aid was ruled illegal by the European Commission, the Estonian state itself would need to decide whether to claim.

State Estonian exam set to go ahead despite remote learning

31.03.21 NEWS ... The Estonian-language state exam is set to take place on April 19. Since schools are as things stand on remote learning until at least a week after that, decisions will need to be made on how to hold the exams within that framework, ETV news show "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK) reported Tuesday night.

Diesel excise duty cuts has come at cost to state budget

31.03.21 POLITICS ... Last year's slashing of diesel fuel duties put in place by the previous administration has in fact cost the state purse and not paid itself off, some experts say. At the same time, the lower excise duty, set to run until May 2022, is still too new to get a full picture of its longer-term effects, a picture further complicated by the arrival of the pandemic.

Prime minister on restrictions: Numbers have not come down as we hoped

31.03.21 POLITICS ... The government is forced to extend the currently established restrictions because while the number of daily new cases has gone down some, it is still not enough, Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) told ETV's political interview show "Esimene stuudio" on Tuesday.

Ratings: Center climbs back to second place in rankings

31.03.21 POLITICS ... While the prime minister's Reform Party has steadily continued its reign over party rating surveys conducted by pollster Norstat, the latest round of results has put Center slightly ahead of the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE).
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