|19th Prime Minister of Estonia|
|Assumed office |
26 January 2021
|Preceded by||Jüri Ratas|
|Leader of the Reform Party|
|Assumed office |
14 April 2018
|Preceded by||Hanno Pevkur|
|Member of the Riigikogu|
|Assumed office |
3 March 2019
6 March 2011 – 1 July 2014
|Member of the European Parliament|
1 July 2014 – 5 September 2018
|Born||18 June 1977|
|Political party||Reform Party|
(m. 2002; div. 2014)
|Education||University of Tartu (BA)|
Estonian Business School (MBA)
Kaja Kallas (Estonian: [ˈkɑjɑ ˈkɑlːɑs]; born 18 June 1977) is an Estonian politician and the prime minister of Estonia since 26 January 2021. She has been the leader of the Reform Party since 2018, and a member of Riigikogu since 2019, and previously from 2011 to 2014. Kallas served as a member of the European Parliament from 2014 to 2018, representing the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe. Before her election to parliament, she was an attorney specializing in European and Estonian competition law.
Early life and education
Born in Tallinn on 18 June 1977, Kaja Kallas is the daughter of Siim Kallas, who was 14th Prime Minister of Estonia and later a European Commissioner. During the Soviet deportations from Estonia, her mother Kristi, six months old at the time, was deported to Siberia with her mother and grandmother in a cattle car and lived there until she was ten years old. Kallas's great-grandfather was Eduard Alver, one of the founders of the Republic of Estonia on 24 February 1918, and the first chief of the Estonian Police from 1918 to 24 May 1919. Kallas's ancestry is partly Latvian and Baltic German, through her father's side of the family.
Kallas graduated from the University of Tartu in 1999 with a bachelor's degree in law. She lived in France and Finland briefly while training in European law. From 2007, she attended the Estonian Business School, earning an EMBA (Executive Master of Business Administration) in economics in 2010.
Kallas became a member of the Estonian Bar Association in 1999 and an attorney-at-law in 2002. She became a partner in law firm Luiga Mody Hääl Borenius and Tark & Co and worked as an executive coach in the Estonian Business School. She is also a member of the European Antitrust Alliance. In 2011, she was placed on inactive status as a member of the Estonian Bar Association. In November 2018, Kallas published her memoir MEP: 4 aastat Euroopa Parlamendis (MEP: Four Years in the European Parliament), in which she describes her life and work in Brussels from 2014 to 2018.
Member of the Estonian Parliament (2011–2014)
In 2010, Kallas decided to join the Estonian Reform Party. She ran for the Parliament of Estonia (Riigikogu) in 2011 for the Harju County and Rapla County constituency, receiving 7,157 votes. She was a member of the 12th Parliament of Estonia and chaired the Economic Affairs Committee from 2011 to 2014.
Member of the European Parliament (2014–2018)
In the 2014 elections, Kallas ran for the European Parliament and received 21,498 votes. In the European Parliament, Kallas served on the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy and was a substitute for the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection. She was a vice-chair of the Delegation to the EU–Ukraine Parliamentary Cooperation Committee as well as a member of the Delegation to the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly and Delegation for relations with the United States.
During her period in the Parliament, Kallas worked on the Digital Single Market strategy, energy, and consumer policies, and relations with Ukraine. In particular, she defended the rights of small and medium-sized enterprises (SME), maintaining that borders in the digital world hinder the emergence of innovative companies. She is a proponent of innovation and frequently emphasizes that regulations cannot and must not hinder the technological revolution.
Kallas served as rapporteur for six reports: opinion on the so-called e-Privacy regulation, Civil law rules on robotics and on the Annual report on EU Competition Policy, and on Delivering a New Deal for Energy Consumers, legislation on Custom infringements and sanctions and the own-initiative report on the Digital Single Market.
During her time in the Parliament, she was also nominated as a European Young Leader (EYL40). At the end of her term, she was cited by Politico as one of the 40 most influential MEPs, and one of the most powerful women in Brussels, who was highlighted for her understanding of technological issues.
Return to national politics
On 13 December 2017, the leader of the Reform Party Hanno Pevkur announced that he would no longer run for party leadership in January 2018, and suggested that Kallas should run instead. After considering the offer, Kallas announced on 15 December 2017 that she would accept the invitation to run in the leadership election. Kallas won the leadership election held on 14 April 2018 and became the first female leader of a major political party in Estonia.
On 3 March 2019, the Reform Party, led by Kallas, won the general election with about 29% of the vote, with the ruling Estonian Centre Party taking 23%. However, the Centre Party managed to form a right-wing coalition with the conservative Isamaa party and the far-right EKRE, leaving the Reform party out of power.
On 14 November 2020 Kallas was re-elected as leader of the Reform party at a Reform Party Assembly.
Prime Minister of Estonia
On 25 January 2021, after the resignation of Jüri Ratas as prime minister following a scandal, Kallas formed a Reform-led coalition government with the Centre Party, making her the first female prime minister in Estonia's history.
- Friends of Europe, member of the Board of Trustees (since 2020)
- European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR), member
- Women Economic Forum, advisory board member
- Model European Union Tallinn, patron
- European Liberal Youth (LYMEC), mentor
- European Young Leaders, member
- Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs, MEP ambassador
- MEP Library Lovers Group, member
- European Internet Forum, political member
- European Forum for Renewable Energy Sources (EUFORES), member of the Extended Board
- Global Young Leaders, member
- Women Political Leaders, member
- European Entrepreneurship Education Network (EE-HUB), MEP ambassador
In 2002, Kallas married Taavi Veskimägi, an Estonian politician and businessman who served as finance minister. They divorced in 2014, and have one son. In 2018, she married Arvo Hallik, a banker and investor. He has two children from a previous relationship.
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