Estonia to close New York and San Francisco consulates in 2024

26.09.23 NEWS ... The Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is set to make 45 staff layoffs and close consulates in New York and San Francisco from the summer of 2024.

Kaja Kallas to BBC: Of course I have thought about stepping down

26.09.23 NEWS ... Prime Minister Kaja Kallas told the BBC in an interview that she has thought about resigning over her husband's Russia transports scandal, while she repeated the same points she has previously told the Estonian media.

Estonian MP: Russia should be isolated from European space sector

25.09.23 NEWS ... Europe should not cooperate with Russia in space, Riigikogu member Mario Kadastik (Reform) said while attending the European Interparliamentary Space Conference (EISC) in Vienna.

Kallas to make official visit to Finland on Friday

25.09.23 NEWS ... Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) will meet with Finnish Prime Minister Petteri Orpo and President Sauli Niinistö on Friday during a working visit to Helsinki.

EKRE member fined for hanging Estonian SSR flag in Tallinn's Old Town

25.09.23 NEWS ... EKRE Riigikogu member Jaak Valge said on Monday he will be fined by the Police and Border Guard (PPA) along with poet Andres Aule for hanging the flag of the Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic (ESSR) in Tallinn's Old Town.

New Narva government abandons residential build for swimming pool

25.09.23 NEWS ... The new administration in the eastern border town of Narva has abandoned a planned residential new build – the first in the city for decades and which would potentially have housed employees of a new magnet factory in the city, and Estonian-speaking teachers working at the neighboring state high school – in favor or renovating an existing swimming pool and building a new spa center.

Viljar Peep's term as justice ministry undersecretary comes to an end

25.09.23 NEWS ... Viljar Peep is stepping down as deputy undersecretary at the Ministry of Justice, as his five-year term is ending.

Minister expedites top civil servants' reduced wage hike bill

25.09.23 NEWS ... Last Friday, Finance Minister Mart Võrklaev (Reform) sent a draft bill to its coordination round, concerning reduced wage hikes for senior civil servants.

Six-month grace period given for re-registering Russian cars in Estonia

25.09.23 NEWS ... Owners of vehicles bearing Russian license plates must either remove their vehicles from Estonia or re-register them here, within a six-month period. No new legislation has been put in place to accomplish this; Minister of Justice Kalle Laanet (Reform) simply recapped current Estonian law.

Parties in Estonia gearing up for European Parliament elections

24.09.23 NEWS ... Political parties are making preparations for European Parliament elections to be held next June, with serious campaigning set to kick off in early 2024.

Hussar calls party chairs meeting to restore Riigikogu's working capacity

23.09.23 NEWS ... Riigikogu Speaker Lauri Hussar (Eesti 200) has called a meeting of the chairs of the Riigikogu parties on September 27. The aim of the meeting is to discuss both the process of restoring the Riigikogu's working capacity as well as the state budget procedure.

Former finance minister: Unspecified tax rises should not be in the budget

22.09.23 NEWS ... Aivar Sõerd (Reform), a former minister of finance and member of the Riigikogu, said that the budget strategy for 2025 should not include €400 million in undefined tax increases and €150 million in undefined cutbacks as revenue sources.

Legal scholar: Government can only regulate e-voting 'technical details'

22.09.23 NEWS ... Electronic voting in Estonia, including a planned smartphone voting system, can only be regulated by the executive in terms of their technical aspects, one expert says.

Tanel Kiik: More may leave Center if too strong change in tack happens

22.09.23 NEWS ... The exodus from the Center Party may not have dried up, at least if new leader Mihhail Kõlvart does not maintain the party's current line and makes too much of a course correction, the party's Riigikogu whip Tanel Kiik says.

Tõnis Mölder on changing parties: Eastern politics don't work in the West

22.09.23 NEWS ... MP and former environment minister Tõnis Mölder, who has just left Center, says he believes that his former home party will transmute into a Tallinn-centric municipal party which only appeals to a narrow group of voters. Others may also leave the party in the near future, he said in an interview given to ERR's radio news, which follows.

Analyst: Center gelling into party of Tallinn, Ida-Viru County

22.09.23 NEWS ... High profile departures from the Center Party in the wake of Mayor of Tallinn Mihhail Kõlvart becoming leader have generally come as no surprise to one expert, who says the party is becoming concentrated in two, albeit key, areas of the country – Tallinn, and Ida-Viru County.

Foreign ministry subscribes to €12,000 Delfi podcasting service

22.09.23 NEWS ... The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has set up a regular podcast aimed at raising awareness of foreign policy among citizens. The series, produced by Delfi, cost €12,000 to put together.

Ratings: September brings significant changes in party support ratings

22.09.23 NEWS ... While the recent controversy which hit the prime minister along with the difficult birthing of the 2024 state budget have eroded support for the Reform-Eesti 200-SDE coalition government as a whole, this has not particularly eroded support for Reform itself, according to a recent survey.

Estonian border guards send back first Russia-licensed vehicle

22.09.23 NEWS ... The Estonian Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) on Thursday returned the first Russian-registered car since the ban on vehicles bearing Russian Federation license plates entered into force last week.

Tõnis Mölder quits the Center Party to join Isamaa

22.09.23 NEWS ... Former environment minister Tõnis Mölder is the latest high profile figure to leave the opposition Center Party, in the wake of the election of Tallinn Mayor Mihhail Kõlvart as party leader.

Kannik: Azeris know that Russia cannot protect Armenia

21.09.23 NEWS ... Indrek Kannik, head of the International Center for Defense and Security (ICDS), told "AK" that Azerbaijan seized Nagorno-Karabakh with the knowledge that Russia, which had previously supported Armenia, cannot protect them now, because all of its forces are focused on the war in Ukraine.

Kallas would be only candidate for Reform Party chair this November

21.09.23 NEWS ... Prime Minister and incumbent Kaja Kallas would likely be the only candidate for chair of the coalition Reform Party at its general assembly this November, as her three potential opponents have said that they don't intend to run.

Government borrowing requirement for 2024 will be €1.16 billion

21.09.23 NEWS ... Government members were tight-lipped on the 2024 state budget, agreed in principle earlier this week, though they did reveal that next year's budget deficit will run at 2.8 percent of GDP – which translates to a borrowing requirement of €1.16 billion.

Narva 'mass war grave' confirmed devoid of human remains

21.09.23 NEWS ... No human remains were found at the site of a purported mass war grave in the eastern Estonian border town of Narva, an excavation revealed.

Justice chancellor: No legal aid required to write to our office

21.09.23 NEWS ... The office of the chancellor of justice is always open to hearing about matters which affect people, including and especially those relating to kindergarten and school places, Ülle Madise, the current office-holder, says.

Senior defense figure quits Center Party over security concerns

21.09.23 NEWS ... A senior reserve army officer and former NATO official has stepped down from the Center Party following the election of Mayor of Tallinn Mihhail Kõlvart as leader.

Polish and Baltic presidents meet to seek solution to Ukrainian grain issue

21.09.23 NEWS ... At the UN General Assembly, a meeting was held involving the presidents of the Baltic countries and Poland. The meeting focused on ways to find solutions to the issues related to Ukrainian grain transportation, as well as on the NATO summit, which will be held in Washington D.C. in 2024.

Prime minister: Main taxation criticism has revolved around lack of debate

21.09.23 NEWS ... While the coalition has received much criticism over an apparent lack of dialogue over proposed new taxes, there is time until July next year to both have that discussion and to find means of making budgetary expense for the following year, Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) says.

Norstat survey: Dissatisfaction with coalition at a two-year high

21.09.23 NEWS ... Based on the latest results from a survey conducted by pollsters Norstat, 62 percent of people think that the current Reform-Eesti 200-SDE government is performing poorly, while 64 percent do not approve of the prime minister's job performance.

Kersna: You have to stand up for your people, but only to a certain point

20.09.23 NEWS ... Liina Kersna (Reform), former minister of education and current member of the Riigikogu, commented in the podcast "Otse uudistemajast" on the party's stance towards scandal-hit Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform): "You have to stand up for your people, but at some point, standing up for them can start to work against them."

Finance minister: We want longer discussion on car tax

20.09.23 NEWS ... The Minister of Finance Mart Võrklaev (Reform) said that the implementation of the car tax was delayed to enable for a more in-depth, broad discussion.

Isamaa leader slams coalition's pact with the major banks

20.09.23 NEWS ... Isamaa chair Urmas Reinsalu says Tuesday's between the coalition and the mostly foreign-owned banks in Estonia will clearly harm the Estonian economy further and take revenues out of the country.

'Esimene stuudio': Coalition wants tax debate within society

20.09.23 NEWS ... The 2024 state budget, which the prime minister announced Tuesday afternoon is now ready for processing at the legislature, includes a broad-based national defense tax component, which will be covered in 2025 by the leftovers from the "empty" €400-million budget entry.

Senior official Heidi Alasepp leaves social affairs ministry

20.09.23 NEWS ... Differences of opinion with colleagues led to the resignation of a deputy secretary general at the Ministry of Social Affairs who had become quite prominent during the Covid pandemic.

Party ratings: Isamaa's support continues to rise

20.09.23 NEWS ... Opposition party Isamaa has continued to see its support grow, now reaching a high for the past four-and-a-half years, according to one recent poll. Meanwhile, coalition party Eesti 200's support is at a near four-year low, the same poll finds.

Riigikogu deputy speaker: Opposition hearings only processed Mondays

20.09.23 NEWS ... The Riigikogu's board organizes the weekly work schedule at parliament so that hearings on interpellations and bills submitted by the opposition can only be processed on Monday's, Deputy Speaker Toomas Kivimägi (Reform) says.

Bank of Estonia opposes government plan for more relaxed budgetary regime

20.09.23 NEWS ... The Bank of Estonia (Eesti Pank) is not in favor of a government plan to replace Estonia's self-imposed budgetary discipline regime with the European Union's less strict rules, ETV news show "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK) reported Tuesday.

Minister: Next year's state budget deficit will run at 2.8 percent of GDP

20.09.23 NEWS ... The 2024 state budget will see a deficit of 2.8 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), Minister of Finance Mart Võrklaev (Reform) said Tuesday.

Mart Laar: Pummeling by taxes has brought Estonian economy to its knees

19.09.23 NEWS ... Mart Laar, former prime minister and long-time leader of the forerunner to day's Isamaa, and as such synonymous with the flat rate approach to taxation, told ERR that, instead of focusing on science and research, the government could cut down on bureaucracy in state institutions and leave business be.

Ministry leaves just two days for state budget law amendment approval

19.09.23 NEWS ... A draft amendment to the State Budget Act is being expedited by the Ministry of Finance which would significantly relax budgetary rules set by Estonia in respect of moving towards a balanced budget.

Ministry opposes abolishing retained profits corporate tax zero rate

19.09.23 NEWS ... Both the Ministry and Finance and the main business lobby group in Estonia are of a mind that even if it were to bring in additional revenues to the state, abolishing the current corporate tax exemption for retained company earnings would do more harm than good to the economy, and consequently the state budget.

Climate ministry sticking with plan to build 'environmental house'

19.09.23 NEWS ... A plan to build a seaside wooden "environmental house" (Keskkonnamaja) in Tallinn's Kalamaja district remains alive, several years after it first appeared. The building would be a showpiece example of Estonian wooden-building know-how and would house state agencies in the relevant fields.

SDE leader: Key issues needing resolving before state budget can go ahead

19.09.23 NEWS ... The coalition Social Democratic Party (SDE) stands for the funding of education, party leader and Interior Minister Lauri Läänemets says, adding that until there is substantive agreement on a few final key areas between his party and its coalition partners, Reform and Eesti 200, it will be difficult to finalize the 2024 state budget.

Daily: Jaan Toots may be next Narva mayor

19.09.23 NEWS ... Center Party Vice-Chair Jaan Toots has been tipped as a potential new mayor of the eastern Estonian city of Narva, regional daily Põhjarannik writes.

Call for Riigikogu investigative committee left off this week's agenda

19.09.23 NEWS ... While a proposal aimed at setting up a dedicated investigative committee which would look at business activities involving the spouse of Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) was filed in time last week, this week's Riigikogu agenda had been finalized by that time, and so the item was not included, Deputy Riigikogu Speaker Toomas Kivimägi (Reform) says.

Riigikogu votes to revoke EKRE MP Kingo's parliamentary immunity

18.09.23 NEWS ... On Monday, the Riigikogu, following a proposal by Chancellor of Justice Ülle Madise, voted to revoke EKRE MP Kert Kingo's parliamentary immunity in order to continue legal proceedings against her.

Estonian PM refuses to provide more documents to Riigikogu select committee

18.09.23 NEWS ... Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) said that since her trust has been breached, she will no longer submit documents to the Anti-Corruption Select Committee of the Riigikogu. According to Kallas, the commission is conducting a political trial of its own against her.

Riigikogu to debate potential removal of EKRE MP's parliamentary immunity

18.09.23 NEWS ... On Monday, Estonian Chancellor of Justice Ülle Madise is set to make a proposal to the Riigikogu for the withdrawal of EKRE MP Kert Kingo's parliamentary immunity and the continuation of legal proceedings against her. Kingo herself will also make her own presentation before the Riigikogu regarding the matter.

Narva City Council dismisses Mayor Katri Raik

16.09.23 NEWS ... Narva City Council decided to vote no confidence in Mayor Katri Raik (SDE) at an extraordinary session on Saturday.

Jaanus Karilaid joins national-conservative Isamaa

16.09.23 NEWS ... The former deputy chair of the Center Party, Jaanus Karilaid, who promised before the Center Party leadership election that he would leave the party if Mihhail Kõlvart won, announced on Saturday that he had decided to join the national-conservative Isamaa.
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