Democracy and rights
Estonia is a well-functioning democracy.
Human rights are respected and the situation of the
Russian minority has improved in recent years.
Estonia is the Baltic country that receives the
highest score in the international organization Freedom
House's annual survey of the state of democracy in world
countries 2018. The democratic institutions are strong
and the opposition has real opportunities to act and
influence public opinion.
Offers a comprehensive list of airports in Estonia, including international airports with city located, size and abbreviation, as well as the biggest airlines.
Freedom of assembly and association is guaranteed in
the Constitution and is followed, as is freedom of
religion. There is no legislation limiting the
activities of civil society organizations.
Fundamental rights are enshrined in the Constitution
for ethnic citizens as well as foreign nationals and
stateless persons. But the lack of citizenship can,
according to Human Rights Watch, still lead to
discrimination, including in the labor market. Russians
who came to Estonia during the Soviet era must pass
Estonian language tests and inquire about the
constitution to obtain citizenship. From 2016, children
gain stateless automatic citizenship, which is seen by
human rights organizations as an improvement. The
authorities also offer free language training in
According to the Constitution, women and men have the
same rights, but women are still under-represented on
higher positions in business, politics and the media. In
Parliament, 30 out of 101 members in 2018 were women.
There are laws that prohibit domestic violence.
During the Soviet era, homosexuality was prohibited
by law. The ban was lifted in 1992, but the tolerance
for sexual minorities is still low and discrimination
exists. Partnerships between people of the same sex were
allowed in 2016 (See Social conditions).
Corruption is being prosecuted and described as less
and less prevalent. In Estonia, 2018 ranks 18th on the
Transparency International Index for perceived
corruption, which is an improvement of three places
compared to 2017.
Freedom of expression and media
Freedom of speech and freedom of expression is
ensured in the constitution and respected. The
government does not restrict or interfere with access to
In Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index for
2019, Estonia is ranked in eleventh place by 180
countries, which is a snap up compared to 2018.
Judicial system and legal security
The constitution guarantees an independent judiciary,
which also applies in practice. According to the
European Commission, the country's legal processes are
among the most effective in the Union.
The death penalty was abolished in 1998.
Former security official convicted of espionage for Russia
A court sentenced a former employee of the intelligence service for spying on
Russia. The man is sentenced to five years in prison.
The reform party is also biggest in the EU elections
The ruling Center Party comes in third place in the European Parliament
elections with just over 14 percent of the vote and gets a mandate. Winners, as
in the recently held parliamentary elections, become the Reform Party with 26
percent of the vote and two seats. The Social Democrats, surprisingly, also
receive two seats with just over 23 percent of the vote. The right-wing Ekre
government party turns four and gets a mandate.
Ratas may again form government
Parliament approves Jüri Rata's proposal for a new government. Ratas is prime
minister of the outgoing government and leader of the Center Party, which came
second in the March 3 election. Ratas was tasked with forming the government of
President Kaljulaid since the parliament on April 15 said no to Kaja Kalla's
coalition between the Reform Party and the Social Democrats. In the vote in
Parliament, Rata's tripartite coalition between the Center Party, Conservative
Isamaa and right-wing populist Ekre gets support from 55 members while 44 vote
Called asked to form government
President Kersti Kaljulaid asks Kaja Kallas, leader of the Reform Party, the
party that received the most votes in the parliamentary elections (see
March) to form government. Kaja Kallas would, if she were to form a
government, become the country's first female prime minister. Kallas invites
outgoing Prime Minister Jüri Ratas, leader of the Center Party electoral
victory, to discuss government cooperation, but Ratas declines no.
The Reform Party wins the election
In the parliamentary elections, the Reform Party wins by a clear margin, 34
seats, over the ruling Center Party, which gets 26 seats. The two other
government parties Isamaa and the Social Democrats get 12 and 10 seats
respectively in the new parliament. The right-wing populist, anti-immigrant and
EU-critical Ekre will become the third largest party with 19 seats, an increase
of 12 seats compared to the election four years ago.
Former officer convicted of espionage for Russia
A former officer is sentenced to 15 years in prison for treason when he spied
for Russia. His father is also punished for treason with six years in prison.
Secret military information has been transmitted to Russia for a decade. The
former military should have been awarded a total of € 20,000 for the tasks.