Climate minister named Estonia's new prime minister

Climate minister named Estonia's new prime minister

Minister Kristen Michal to replace Premier Kaja Kallas tapped as EU’s foreign policy chief

By Leila Nezirevic

LONDON (AA) – Estonia’s ruling party unanimously nominated Climate Minister Kristen Michal to replace outgoing Prime Mimister Kaja Kallas, local media reported Saturday.

The ruling center-right Reform Party made a decision following closed-door meeting, after the European Union (EU) selected Kallas to become the high representative of the European Commission for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, according to national broadcaster ERR.

Michal, 48, who was the only candidate put forward for the role, thanked the party for its trust promising to carry the responsibility with dignity.

He stressed that his focus will be security for all of Estonia.

"The people of Estonia need to be reassured that our homes and land are protected and that the country is well run. Security in national defense, strengthening the competitiveness of the economy, and continuing to clean up public finances will certainly be important priorities during the review of the coalition agreement," Michal was quoted as saying by ERR.

The Reform Party Secretary-General Timo Suslov said Michal is a strong candidate for prime minister.

"Kristen has been a member of the political party for 27 years. As a multiple-time minister, he is well prepared and has strong political experience to carry the role of prime minister," Suslov expressed in a statement.

Prime Minster Kallas will start the process of stepping down next month, the Reform Party said on Saturday after choosing her successor.

It was also revealed that she will represent Estonia as prime minister at the NATO summit in Washington on July 9-11, after which Kallas will hand in her resignation as prime minister, a press release said.

She was nominated as the EU's top diplomat on Thursday; however, her role will be confirmed at a hearing on July 18.

As prime minister, Kallas has led three consecutive governments (2021-2022, 2022-2023, 2023-2024) and was Estonia's first female prime minister.

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