Estonian foreign minister Urmas Paet (photo: creative commons)
Estonia's long serving foreign minister Urmas Paet has announced he will be stepping down from his role after nearly tens years in charge.
Paet said he will now focus on work in the European Parliament after serving as deputy chairman of the Reform Party for 11 years and foreign minister for nine years.
Speaking to Postimees Online, he said: "During this time, Estonia's foreign policy position has strengthened. It has been so in NATO and the European Union, we have become members of the OECD, elected in the United Nations Human Rights Council etc. We have a lot of friends in the world and it is important for each country," he said.
"I have thus come to the conclusion that there is need for new challenges. Thus I am ready to take up work in the European Parliament to help also in this way to contribute to developments in Estonia and Europe," said Paet.
He confirmed that he will participate in the Estonian society, contribute to compiling the Reform Party program for the upcoming parliamentary elections and support the Reform Party team in the upcoming elections.
Estonia's Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas praised the foreign minister for his work over the years.
"Urmas Paet has been a very strong Minister of Foreign Affairs and his experiences have been useful in leading the ministry as well as a member of the government. Reform Party board will discuss the proposal to appoint a candidate for the post of foreign minister during this week," Rõivas said.
The foreign minister will be replaced in the government by Foreign Trade Minister Anne Sulling.
(Edited by Rayyan Sabet-Parry)