Estonia: ministry used as a private daycare centre

Estonia's Minister of Education Mailis Reps (Estonian Centre Party) has apparently been abusing the perks of her ministerial post to reduce her family workload. According to research carried out by Õhtuleht newspaper, her driver and other employees at the ministry have been looking after her six children on a regular basis for years. Reps also reportedly went on holiday to Croatia in a bus owned by the ministry. Single parent or not - the Estonian media take the minister to task.

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Õhtuleht (EE) /

Why we couldn't remain silent

Õhtuleht explains the motivation behind its investigations:

“Minister Mailis Reps has cheated and lied. This should be the end of the discussion, but what to do when the prime minister and members of parliament insist on protecting her? Õhtuleht suspected that Minister Reps was misusing her official cars, among other things. So we put the cars under observation for three days to see whether or not everything was ethical. We didn't follow her children, as we have been accused of doing, but the cars. We can't do anything about the fact that children got into them. Just as we weren't the ones who ordered the driver to go shopping.”

Eesti Päevaleht (EE) /

A lawyer, not an alcoholic

Eesti Päevaleht is stunned to see even members of the Centre Party leaping to Reps' defence:

“Are you seriously comparing a member of the government with a normal single mother? Would you compare women who live on the poverty line, often without the support of the child's father, with Mailis Reps? Are you crazy? Do you live in a fantasy world in which Mailis Reps is not a member of government, but a vulnerable mother, and the father is not a successful lawyer but a violent alcoholic? How out of touch with reality can you be?”