Estonia: head of Health Board resigns

In Estonia, the director of the country's Health Board, Merike Jürilo, has resigned citing major differences of opinion with the government in the coronavirus crisis. Jürilo had often criticised the coalition government made up of the Centre Party, nationalist Ekre and conservative Isamaa. Estonia's media examine what other factors were behind the resignation.

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Õhtuleht (EE) /

Politicians humiliating experts

Õhtuleht sharply criticises the government of Prime Minister Jüri Ratas for the dismissal:

“The head of what is currently the country's most important authority resigns, but the prime minister sees this as just a minor issue! This says a lot about Ratas' priorities - unfortunately nothing positive. ... With Jürilo's dismissal the government has set the tone for the election of its successor. If the government's idea of trust is that competence silently submits to political will, even on specific health issues, we should be very concerned about a second wave of the virus.”

Eesti Rahvusringhääling (ERR Online) (EE) /

Unpopular with all the government parties

It was only a matter of time before the head of the Health Board resigned, Eesti Rahvusringhääling explains:

“Merike Jürilo probably knew for a long time that the politicians wanted to get rid of her. Why was she disliked by all the government parties? In the case of Ekre this is hardly surprising, since ranting about civil servants is programmed into their political rhetoric. ... For his part Prime Minister Jüri Ratas tried to control all the activities of the Health Board, right down to the smallest detail, interfering in matters that are not in his domain. ... [Foreign Minister Urmas] Reinsalu had a different problem with the Health Board: he didn't like its eagerness to close the borders. And then there was the unfortunate case of the express antibody tests that a major sponsor of the Isamaa party wanted to offer the government, and which the Health Board viewed with open scepticism.”