Mailis Reps

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Mailis Reps
Mailis Reps 2017-05-25 (cropped).jpg
Mailis Reps in 2017.
Minister of Education and Research
In office
23 November 2016 20 November 2020
Prime Minister Jüri Ratas
Preceded by Maris Lauri
Succeeded by Jaak Aab
In office
12 April 2005 5 April 2007
Prime Minister Andrus Ansip
Preceded by Toivo Maimets
Succeeded by Tõnis Lukas
Minister of Education
In office
Prime Minister Siim Kallas
Preceded by Tõnis Lukas
Succeeded by Toivo Maimets
Personal details
Born (1975-01-13) 13 January 1975 (age 45)
Tallinn, Estonia
Political party Estonian Centre Party

Mailis Reps (née Rand, born 13 January 1975) is an Estonian politician, a member of the Estonian Centre Party. She served as the Minister of Education and Research from 2002 to 2003, 2005 to 2007 and 2016 to 2020. [1]


Early life and education

Reps was born in Tallinn, Estonia. From 1993 to 1998 she studied law at the Academy Nord in Tallinn. She holds currently two Master degrees: the first in law from the Central European University and the second in public relations from Maastricht University. Since 2001 she is studying international and European law at doctorate level in Uppsala University. [2]

From 2000 to 2001 Mailis Rand worked in the European Commission Directorate-General of Personnel and Administration. Since year 2000 she is also a lecturer of international public law in the Academy Nord and in the Riga Graduate School of Law. [2]

Political career

On 28 January 2002 Mailis Rand became the Estonian Minister of Education in the government of Siim Kallas. [3] She was often criticised for her youth and inexperience. [4] Although she was unable to solve several crucial problems of Estonian education, she fought for more funding to education and was elected Friend of Education by Estonian Education Forum in October 2002. Mailis Rand renamed the Ministry of Education to the Ministry of Education and Research (in effect since 1 January 2003) to reflect the central role of this government institution in administration of higher education and research activities.

She was also the Minister to merge two leading academic libraries of Estonia – Estonian Academic Library and Tallinn Pedagogical University Library. The merger was signed on 8 April 2003, 2 days before the resignation of the government.

Mailis Rand became then member of the Estonian Parliament (Riigikogu). She was also elected to the Board of the Estonian Centre Party and appointed the Party's Secretary on Foreign Relations. She was one of the persons involved in preparing the controversial contract of co-operation between the Estonian Centre Party and Russian 'party of the power' United Russia in December 2004.

After the resignation of the government of Prime Minister Juhan Parts she was appointed again Minister of Education and Research on 13 April 2005. Main activities of her second term have been preparation of the new general curriculum, approval of the new vocational education agenda, improving and expanding learning in Estonian in the schools of Russian-speaking minority, provision of free lunches to pupils and approval of the new vocational standard for teachers.

Since 2005 she is also a Vice-Chairperson of the Estonian Centre Party. [5]

Member of PACE

As member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), Reps serves as full member of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights (as Second Vice-Chairperson); the Committee on the Election of Judges to the European Court of Human Rights; the Committee on the Honouring of Obligations and Commitments by Member States of the Council of Europe (Monitoring Committee); and the Sub-Committee on Human Rights. In late September 2014, she and fellow parliamentarian Marietta de Pourbaix-Lundin of Sweden assessed the reform agenda initiated by President Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine, reviewed the state of the armed insurgency in the east of Ukraine, and evaluated ethnic tensions in Odessa following the fire of 2 May. [6] Alongside Jean-Claude Mignon of France, she is currently co-rapporteur on the honouring of obligations and commitments by Ukraine. [7]


Mailis Reps was heavily criticised after her official visit to the Mari-El Republic, a federal subject of Russia in August 2005. While several European (including Estonian) politicians have drawn attention to the discrimination of Mari people in this republic and issued statements on the topic, Mailis Reps spoke very positively about the current state of native inhabitants, their culture and education in her interview to Russian television. She later claimed that her statements were taken out of context by Russian TV and that her poor knowledge of Russian contributed to misunderstanding what she had actually meant.

Personal life

After marrying a Latvian lawyer Agris Repšs she started to use a simplified version of her husband's surname (Reps). [8] The marriage produced six children before divorce was announced in February 2019.


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  1. "Minister of Education and Research Mailis Reps". Ministry of Education and Research. Archived from the original on 21 June 2020. Retrieved 25 November 2020.
  2. 1 2 "Mailis Reps". Central European University. Archived from the original on 27 September 2011.
  3. Gunter, Aleksei (24 January 2002). "Kallas to form new government". The Baltic Times. Archived from the original on 24 March 2012.
  4. Hill, Don (28 January 2002). "Estonia: Young Members Infuse New Cabinet". Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty. Archived from the original on 14 October 2012.
  5. "Eesti in brief – 7 April 2011". The Baltic Times. 6 April 2011. Archived from the original on 24 March 2012.
  6. Information note by the co-rapporteurs on their fact-finding visit to Kyiv and Odessa (7 to 11 July 2014) Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, press release of 20 March 2015.
  7. PACE monitoring co-rapporteurs to visit Ukraine Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, press release of 20 March 2015.
  8. Silm, Jaanus (20 May 2003). "Mailis Rand abiellus lätlasega". Õhtuleht (in Estonian). Archived from the original on 30 March 2012.
Political offices
Preceded by
Tõnis Lukas
Minister of Education
Succeeded by
Toivo Maimets
Preceded by
Toivo Maimets
Minister of Education and Research
Succeeded by
Tõnis Lukas
Preceded by
Maris Lauri
Minister of Education and Research
Succeeded by