May 31: EU Elections Debate 2024

May 31, 2024 | 17:00 ‒ 19:00

On May 31st, the EU Election Debate took place at Miltton New Nordics in Tallinn. This event was co-organized by the Swedish Chamber of Commerce in Estonia and the Danish-Estonian Chamber of Commerce. Renowned moderator Annika Arras led the discussions, providing a unique platform for candidates to share their visions and strategies for Europe’s future.

The debate featured representatives from six parties:

  • Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa)
  • Yoko Alender (Reform Party)
  • Marina Kaljurand (Social Democrats)
  • Liisa Pakosta (Estonia 200)
  • Kristjan Vanaselja (Parempoolsed)
  • Andrei Korobeinik (Center Party)


The debate began with each party introducing their European Parliament election slogans:

  • The Center Party presented “Stand Strong, Estonia!”, emphasizing meaningful initiatives for Estonia.
  • Parempoolsed emphasized “Freedom, protecting freedom, stand for all freedoms.”
  • Estonia 200’s slogan is “Yes, to a strong united Europe.”
  • The Reform Party declared “Better Estonia, securing Estonia’s place in Europe. Value of freedom.”
  • Isamaa’s slogan is “To the right path,” highlighting that Isamaa is the only Estonian party belonging to the European People’s Party.
  • The Social Democrats’ slogan is based on three central values: “Freedom, Justice, and Security.”


Key topics discussed at the debate included defense issues, such as the extent of the EU’s role in defense, given that decision power lies with Member States. The potential need for EU treaty changes to enable more coordination was also discussed. The idea of creating a Defense Commissioner position was debated, questioning the role and power such a position would hold. Participants also considered the expected political shift to the right in the next European Parliament and its impact on the defense union and climate policies. Other important discussions covered the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), regional cooperation, economic competitiveness, the Green Deal, transatlantic relations, and visions for the EU’s future and Estonia’s role within it.

At the end of the debate, participants were asked to predict the election results and voter turnout. Marina Kaljurand (Social Democrats) predicted a 41% turnout, with the Social Democrats and Reform Party performing well. Yoko Alender (Reform Party) foresaw a 39% turnout, with strong results for the Reform Party and Social Democrats. Andrei Korobeinik (Center Party) estimated a 42% turnout, favoring the Social Democrats and Isamaa. Liisa Pakosta (Estonia 200) anticipated a higher turnout of 51%, with the Social Democrats, Reform Party, and Isamaa leading. Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) predicted a 39.2% turnout, while Kristjan Vanaselja (Parempoolsed) expected a 37% turnout, with the Social Democrats and Reform Party performing well.

Attending this debate offered a valuable opportunity for the public to engage directly with the decision-makers who will influence the continent’s trajectory. Participants gained deeper insights into the electoral process and were able to clarify their own views on important issues facing Europe.

We would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to everyone who participated in the debate, including the candidates, co-organizers, and audience members. Your engagement and contributions made this event a success.