Su, 1.10.2023

Estonian president: PM's steps will show how serious she considers the problem to be

Alar Karis.
Alar Karis. Photo: Sander Ilvest

Estonian President Alar Karis made a public statement on Monday in connection with the scandal over Prime Minister Kaja Kallas' husband's business operations related to Russia, saying that the prime minister's next steps will show how serious she considers the problem to be.

According to Karis, one of the tasks of the president and members of the government is to maintain Estonia's internal stability and the country's integrity in domestic and foreign policy.

«Imposing economic sanctions on Russia, which is waging a war of conquest in Ukraine, is a common policy of the European Union to contain the aggressor. Estonia has been one of the driving forces behind the sanctions policy. Many business operators engaging in business with Russia pulled out of that business for moral reasons during the year and a half after February 24, 2022. They did the right thing so as not to be associated with the aggressor state and its economic bloodstream,» the president said.

«But we know that not everyone in Europe has done this. Also in Estonia. When it comes to certain companies, this calls into question the credibility of the Estonian state in its interaction with our allies. The business activities of Prime Minister Kaja Kallas' family member vis-a-vis Russia have raised many questions in the media and in society, and have put the spotlight on the head of the government and the values that Estonia must follow,» Karis said.

Karis said it is also part of the job of government politicians to answer questions when they arise, and to do so in front of the Riigikogu committees, regardless of whether the committee is headed by a representative of the opposition or the coalition.

«And especially when difficult and unpleasant issues have to be discussed, just as is appropriate and necessary in a normal parliamentary state, necessary for the functioning of democracy. The choices that leave the Riigikogu aside in this situation will set a precedent for the future and shape the image of Estonian democracy,» he said.

«Estonia is a parliamentary state, which requires us all to respect the representative body elected by the people. The prime minister has told the public she has no plans to resign. The next steps by the prime minister will show how serious she considers the problem to be and what she believes is the right solution for the Estonian state. Of course, the parties in the governing coalition -- the Reform Party, Estonia 200, the Social Democrats -- also have an important role to play in this. As president, I consider it necessary to emphasize that Estonia needs a government capable of working and relying on internal trust,» the president said.