TALLINN - Flags of the European Union have been brought back to the White Hall of the Estonian parliament on the orders of Juri Ratas, president of the Riigikogu and leader of the Center Party, the junior half in the two-party government coalition; the flags were removed by Ratas' predecessor as speaker, Henn Polluaas from the now opposition Estonian Conservative People's Party (EKRE), Postimees reports.
Ratas said in a webcast of Postimees last month that he deems the presence of the Estonian flag important in the Riigikogu hall; however, Estonia has also had a very successful period during its EU membership.
"We have definitely gained from it in terms of security. The EU has strengthened our economy, and as to culture -- we've been able to study and travel freely. And also in terms of investments, of course," he said, adding that Estonia is proud to be in the European Union. "There are four places for flags in the While Hall, two of which should be reserved for our beloved blue, black and white flag and two for the flag of the European Union," he said.
The previous president of the Riigikogu, Henn Polluaas, ordered for the EU flags to be removed in April 2019. Polluaas told reporters at the time that he had had the EU flags removed from the White Hall and replaced them with the Estonian national flags. Polluaas noted that the EU flags had been installed in the White Hall for the duration of Estonia's presidency of the European Union in the second half of 2017 and they were removed when the parliament was celebrating the centennial of the Riigikogu.