Video: Estonian EU parliament candidates explain what they stand for

Organised by the Open Estonia Foundation, Estonishing Evenings and Estonian World, seven major Estonian candidates running for the European Parliament debated in English the future of Europe at the Tallinn Club of Different Rooms on 6 May; watch the candidates explaining what they stand for in Europe.

The European Parliament election will be held in Estonia on 26 May 2019. Besides Estonians, the citizens of other EU member states who reside in Estonia have the right to vote in the election.

In order to give as many people as possible a chance to participate in a pre-election discourse, Estonishing Evenings, the Open Estonia Foundation and Estonian World were organising a public debate at the Club of Different Rooms on 6 May with candidates from the six major political parties, plus an independent candidate. The debate was held in English and covered topics that are relevant to the future of Europe.

Prior to the event, the debate’s moderators Joao Rei and Silver Tambur asked the candidates what they stand for in Europe.

The Reform Party is represented by Taavi Rõivas, a former Estonian prime minister and currently an MP in the Estonian parliament.

The Centre Party is represented by Yana Toom, a member of the current European parliament.

The Social Democrats are represented by Sven Mikser, a former Estonian foreign minister, currently an MP.

Isamaa is represented by Riho Terras, an Estonian Army general and the former commander of the Estonian Defence Forces.

Estonia 200 is represented by Kristina Kallas, a former director of the University of Tartu’s Narva college.

The Estonian Greens were due to be represented by Evelin Ilves, the First Lady of Estonia from 2006 until 2015, but Ilves was replaced by Peep Mardiste, an environmentalist. Before the shuffle, the event’s moderators had already interviewed Ilves, however.

The debate also features an independent candidate, Raimond Kaljulaid, an MP.

Estonia joined the European Union on 1 May 2004. According to a poll carried out by Eurobarometer in 2018, 74 per cent of Estonian citizens believe Estonia benefits from being an EU member, while the average indicator in the EU stands at 64 per cent.

Organised in partnership with the Estonian World online magazine and the Telliskivi Creative City, the Estonishing Evenings series runs English-speaking events that host different speakers expressing their viewpoints and experiences on hot topics and matters concerning both the locals and non-natives living in Estonia. So far, it has hosted 14 events, attended by approximately 1,400 people from 50 different countries.

The debate on 6 May is supported by European Commission Europe for Citizens programme and is part of the EU Solutions Lab project, run in Estonia by the Open Estonia Foundation. Similar debates take also place in Latvia and Lithuania.

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