5 Questions with ... Urmas Paet

Urmas Paet (Renew, EE) is the Vice-Chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs
Urmas Paet | Photo Courtesy of Urmas Paet

By Urmas Paet

Urmas Paet (Renew, EE) is the Vice-Chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs

28 Mar 2023

1. How would you describe your political/leadership style in three words? 

Making things happen (fast – if I may add a fourth word).  

Especially in times of crisis, it is crucial to keep it together, make decisions and execute them swiftly. I experienced the importance of decisiveness while serving as the Estonian Foreign Minister when Russia launched cyber-attacks against Estonia in 2007. This event is widely regarded as the first major act of cyberwarfare in the world. At the same time, Russian youth activists were blockading the Estonian Embassy in Moscow.  

Or when a group of Estonian cyclists was abducted in Lebanon in 2011 – that was another difficult situation. 

2. What is the smallest change you have made in your career that has had the biggest positive result? 

Years ago, I made a U-turn and moved from journalism to politics. I had worked as a journalist and news editor since I was a kid – I was 16 when I started my first job as a radio news editor in Estonian public broadcasting. However, after an interesting career in journalism, I wanted to see what politics looks like from the inside.   

3. Is there anything you have personally achieved or done that would surprise people?    

I went skydiving and quite liked it. I almost lost my glasses during the jump but luckily managed to get a hold of them. 

4. What do you do in your free time to relax and unwind? 

Spending time with my three children is my top priority. We go to the movies a lot, and I take them on trips so they can explore the world. I also enjoy long walks in the forest. During the winter, I try to ski as much as I can. Luckily Estonia has a lot to offer in terms of outdoor sports. I also have a weak spot for Nordic noir literature. 

5. What was the most inspirational and influential book you have read and why?   

Between Three Plagues by Estonian author Jaan Kross. It’s all about the most important historical period – the 16th century – in my country and my hometown of Tallinn. 


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