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Estonian Review: October 31- November 6, 2005

10.11.2005

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FOREIGN NEWS
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TOP NEWS

Estonia: Baltic Heads of State met in Maardu

Nov 03 - A working meeting of Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian presidents took place at Maardu Manor near Tallinn on Thursday.
The meeting addressed issues related to the further development of the Baltic co-operation, where both political as well as economic cooperation was discussed. The topic of air policing in the Baltic States was also touched upon. The presidents spoke of the contribution of the Baltic States to the implementation of the EU Neighbourhood Policy and the viewpoints of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania concerning the future of the European Union.
Speaking about the planned Russian-German gas pipeline, the heads of state reached a unanimous viewpoint that the construction of the pipeline could pose very serious ecological risks to the Baltic Sea and the states bordering it. In connection with that topic and also in wider context, it was stated that the Baltic cooperation has reached a new phase and therefore formation of common positions and protection of shared interests have become increasingly more important. In the field of economic cooperation, the discussion focused on energy issues and on the necessity to boost the development of the energy infrastructure in the Baltic region - primarily in connection with Via Baltica and the Rail Baltica projects.
The previous meeting of the three Baltic presidents took place in Riga, earlier this year in May, where on the same day there was also a meeting with George W. Bush, President of the United States of America. The next meeting of the Baltic heads of state will be held in Lithuania in 2006.


Paet discussed possibilities for the expansion of economic relations with the Scottish First Minister

Nov 01 – During the course of the visit to Great Britain, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet met with First Minister of Scotland, Rt. Hon Jack McConnell. At the beginning of the meeting both sides expressed their joy over the eventfulness of this year’s Estonian Days of culture and business. Foreign Minister Paet recalled the success of last year's event. The ministers thoroughly discussed the on-going development of economic relations between Estonia and Scotland and remarked that in addition to the economic activity going on currently in the fields of: electronics, technology and the chemical industry, there are many other fields which have yet to be developed by entrepreneurs.
The sides agreed that a direct air-link would likely help to re-enforce the further development of economic relations between the two countries. “In addition to promoting economic and cultural ties, it would also help to develop personal ties,” noted Foreign Minister Paet, adding that there is already a notable number of Estonians living and studying in Scotland. “It is in every way welcomed if people wish to acquire an education outside of Estonia and later return to their homeland. In this way they put their acquired knowledge and experiences to good use back at home,” he said.
Speaking on similar concerns, the ministers noted the problems, related to an ageing population. Minister McConnell introduced the (Fresh Talent Initiative) – a migration project, through which various campaigns will be carried out with an objective to invite young people to come to live and work in Scotland. The project is aimed at the working age population to help curb negative effects of an ageing population. Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Paet informed the Scottish First Minister, of the steps, which Estonia has taken to help increase the birth rate. The Scottish First Minister acknowledged the activeness and capability of the Estonian honorary consul in Scotland, Ian Lawson. At the same time, Foreign Minister Paet thanked Lawson for his big contribution in helping organize the Estonian Days there.


Estonia to take part in monitoring mission on Moldova's border

Nov 04 - Estonia will participate in a EU-funded border assistance mission that is set to start along the Transnistria section of the border between Moldova and Ukraine next month.
The Estonian Interior Ministry has put forward its candidates for the mission staff.
The Foreign Ministry will present the candidates to the European Commission for endorsement.
The EU has invited specialists with a customs, police or border guard background to take part in the mission. The Estonian Foreign Ministry asked the ministries of interior and finance, the Tax and Customs Board, the Border Guard Board and the Police Board to present their candidates.
The head of the European Parliament's delegation for Moldova, Estonian MEP Marianne Mikko, said that participation in the Moldova border-monitoring mission was very important because as a foreign policy initiative it would make Estonia more widely recognized as a reliable partner.



FOREIGN NEWS

Foreign Minister Paet opened a Business Seminar and Estonian Days of Culture in Scotland

Nov 01 - On his visit in Great Britain, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet opened the Estonian-Scottish Business Seminar in Edinburgh, which took place in the framework of the Estonian Days of Culture and Business which began Tuesday. In his opening address the Foreign Minister noted with pleasure that Scottish business circles have recently expanded in Estonia. He remarked “that it was like accomplishing two things in one, when in the mid-nineties a great number of members of the Tartan Army, the Scottish Football Fans' Club having business acumen visited Tallinn.” He noted, “Even if some football match in Estonia happened to be less dramatic than expected, a great number of Scottish enterprises are now active in Estonia.” In his address, the Foreign Minister also introduced Estonian economic reforms as well as financial policy and spoke of an entrepreneur-friendly business climate. Paet outlined that although there is considerable economic activity between Estonia and Scotland, there is certainly room for the expansion of such activities. “There are good prospects for co-operation between Estonia and Scotland in innovative fields, such as information technology and biotechnology, but at the same time there are a great many undiscovered possibilities including more traditional sectors such as the food and textile industries and certainly also in the area of tourism,” the Foreign Minister confirmed.
In the morning the Foreign Minister, accompanied by Ago Silde, Ida-Viru County Governor met with Mayor of Glasgow, Liz Cameron. Ida-Viru County has friendly relations with several Scottish local-governments of the West Lothian region. At present, five schools from Narva already have ongoing language study projects with partners from the West Lothian region. Together they discussed, how to tighten links with the city of Glasgow in order to share the experience of renovation.
In the course of the visit the Foreign Minister was presented with a tartan, a symbolic gift made to the Estonian people from cloth in blue-black-and-white and red-golden colors to represent the close ties between Estonia and Scotland. The Foreign Minister thanked the Scottish people for such a distinctive gift, confirming once more that Estonia highly appreciates its continually tightening bonds with Scotland.
On Monday evening the Foreign Minister participated in Edinburgh at the opening of the Estonian Days of Culture and Business. This is the most voluminous event of its time, introducing Estonian culture and business in Great Britain. The Estonian Days are comprised of nearly 30 events including the spheres of art, music, sports, and research and business. The events took place in several locations across Scotland. Folk musicians and the National Academic Male Choir helped introduce Estonian culture; a workshop of jeweller’s art was also opened. During the Estonian Days there was an exhibition displaying a compilation of aerial photographs by Endel Grensmann "Bird’s-eye Estonia" and an exhibition on Estonian-Scottish cultural relations through history "The Best of Scotland in Estonia," which took place in the Estonian parliament
On Friday, 4 November, there was a charity football match between the Tartan Army and the Estonian Days Participants, revenue from ticket-sales- was split fifty-fifty. The Estonian portion has been intended to cover the expenses of building a football ground for the SOS Children’s Village Keila.
The Estonian Days in Scotland were carried out in co-operation of the Foreign Ministry and Estonian Honorary Consul in Scotland, the Estonian Institute, Estonian Embassy in London, Enterprise Estonia, the Cultural Ministry and many other Estonian and Scottish partners.
Full text of the Foreign Minister's address: http://www.vm.ee/eng/kat_140/7068.html


Foreign Minister Paet met with British Ministers

Nov 02 - On his visit to Great Britain, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet met with British Minister for Europe Rt. Hon Douglas Alexander and Defence Secretary Rt. Hon John Reid. The Foreign Minister also delivered a speech at the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House). With British Minister for Europe Rt. Hon Douglas Alexander, Paet mainly discussed the budget of the European Union, as well as the relationship between the EU and Russia. Rt. Hon Douglas Alexander familiarized the Estonian side with the Presidency's intenions to move on with the financial perspective. Foreign Minister Paet confirmed that already at the European Council scheduled to take place in December Estonia wishes to see an agreement regarding the financial perspective. Both ministers expressed hope that by then a compromise will have been found. “For Estonia as a new Member State it is very important that an agreement is reached as soon as possible regarding the EU budget, because we have to start making preparations for the use of structural money,” Paet noted. “Since the sum to be allocated from the EU's budget to Estonia is going to increase notably, its use has to be carefully considered,” he added. Talking about the relationship between the EU and Russia, the parties agreed that the EU has to talk to Russia with a unified voice.
It was jointly acknowledged that the four common spaces is a good framework for further co-operation. The ministers also discussed the future of the relationship between the EU and Russia after the termination of the partnership and co-operation agreement in 2007. “A solid legal base is needed in the form of a binding agreement for the relationship between the EU and Russia,” Foreign Minister Paet confirmed.
At the meeting with Defence Secretary Rt. Hon John Reid, several issues were discussed including: the situation in Afghanistan, co-operation in international operations and issues related to NATO air policing.
The ministers talked about the situation in Afghanistan and the British Defence Secretary thanked Estonia for co-operation in the British-led Provincial Reconstruction Team in Northern Afghanistan. Defence Secretary Reid appreciated Estonia's intentions to increase its contribution to the peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan as well as its continued co-operation with Great Britain. The parties also discussed the possible extension of Estonia's mission in Iraq. Ideas were exchanged on NATO air policing and on the developments of NATO air defence policy. “The continuation of NATO air policing is very important to the protection of the Baltic States' airspace,” Foreign Minister Paet emphasized. As part of the itinerary, Paet also visited Chatham House and delivered a speech, noting current problems, which need to be resolved. The full text of this speech is available at Foreign Ministry's home page at: http://www.vm.ee/eng/kat_140/7075.html


Estonia shared EU and NATO related experience with students from the Ukrainian Diplomatic Academy

Nov 03 - A two-week training programme came to an end, which was conducted in the framework of development co-operation for 15 students of the Ukrainian Diplomatic Academy, in the course of which teachers of the Universities of Tallinn, as well as of Tartu and experts of different institutions introduced Estonia's experience of the European integration and NATO.
Foreign Minister Urmas Paet met with those having passed the course and awarded to them the certificate of the Estonian School of Diplomacy. "An important part of Estonia's development co-operation is sharing our experience of reform with other countries," Paet said. "Ukraine is one of the relevant target countries of our bilateral development co-operation," he added. The participants in the courses also met with Foreign Ministry's Secretary General Matti Maasikas.
Nearly one million kroons have been earmarked for the implementation of projects directed at Ukraine in the Foreign Ministry's budget for development and humanitarian aid in 2005. This year 5 projects have been carried out in the framework of development co-operation: two projects deal with supporting Ukrainian's local governments, an advanced training project for the Ukrainian officials of environmental and social fields, the EU and NATO related training for students of the Ukrainian Diplomatic Academy which has been completed and a project for the development of the Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The most favoured regions of Estonia's development co-operation in 2005 have been Eastern and South Eastern Europe and the Southern Caucasus. The main target countries are: Moldova, Ukraine and Georgia.
The volume of means earmarked for development and humanitarian aid in the Foreign Ministry's budget for 2005 amounts to 8 million kroons.
Detailed project descriptions and an overview of Estonia's development co-operation projects in earlier years is available on the Foreign Ministry's home page at: http://www.vm.ee/eng/kat_178/


Ten Estonian lawmakers observed elections in Azerbaijan

Nov 05 - On Saturday, ten members of the Estonian parliament observed the parliamentary elections in Azerbaijan, where attacks against the opposition have recently become more and more frequent.
Toomas Alatalu from the People's Union and Andres Herkel from the Pro Patria Union observed the elections with the delegation of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. Herkel was the rapporteur of Parliamentary Assembly on the Azerbaijani elections.
Reformist Margus Hanson, Social Democrat Jarno Laur, Reformist Vaino Linde, Centrists Eldar Efendiyev and Vladimir Velman as well as Jaak Allik from the People's Union went to Baku as representatives of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly.
Centrists Helle Kalda and Arnold Kimber observed the elections at the invitation of a non-profit organization.



DEFENCE NEWS

Baltic states to coordinate their activity in NATO

Nov 04 - The Baltic Military Committee, a body made up of the defence forces commanders of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania that started its work Friday, seeks to further increase the efficiency of the countries' cooperation as NATO and EU members.
The Estonian defence chief, Vice Adm. Tarmo Kõuts, said the Baltic Military Committee was expressing the national interests of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania in the military field.
"The goal of the Baltic Military Committee is to promote Baltic military unity and vigorously bring the Baltic dimension into the EU defence dimension and up to par with NATO," Kõuts was quoted as saying.
Together with his Latvian colleague, Vice Adm. Gaidis-Andrejs Zeibots, and the Lithuanian colleague, Maj. Gen. Valdas Tutkus, Kõuts discussed the activity and development plans of the three Baltic states' joint airspace surveillance system BALTNET, the joint mine countermeasures squadron BALTRON, the Baltic staff officers college BALTDEFCOL and the information system BALTCCIS.
The committee were also briefed on the ground forces doctrine and various training programs.
It is planned for the Baltic Military Committee to meet twice each year.



DOMESTIC NEWS

Estonian minister appointed new border guard board chief

Nov 05 - Estonian Interior Minister Kalle Laanet appointed Lt. Col. Roland Peets director-general of the Border Guard Board on Saturday.
Peets, born 1957, is a 1981 graduate from the Estonian Agricultural Academy and has completed a special course for senior staff of the Estonian defence forces at the Finnish National Defence Academy.
Peets served as inspector and deputy head of the border guard station in Narva-Jõesuu in 1992, as deputy head of the East-Viru County regional management centre from 1992-1994, and as chief of staff of the East-Viru border guard area from 1994-1997. Since January 1997 Peets was head of the Northeast border guard area.
The term of service of the present director-general of the Border Guard Board, Harry Hein, expired on November 1. Hein was chief of the Border Guard Board since 2000.



ECONOMIC NEWS

Estonian firms R&D outlays up by 30 percent in 2004

Nov 01 - Estonian firms' intramural outlays on research and development last year totalled 504.24 million kroons (EUR 32.22 mln), an increase of 29.7 percent compared with the preceding year, according to the Statistical Office. At the same time, extramural expenditure was 74.8 million kroons. The cost of R&D activities in 2004 made up 0.91 percent of gross domestic product, which is 0.09 percentage points more than in 2003.
A total of 1.294 billion kroons was spent on research and development in Estonia last year, a year-on-year growth of 19.2 percent.
R&D spending by non-profit seeking sectors was 789.8 million kroons and by the non-profit seeking private sector, 29.7 million kroons.


Currency Rates in Kroons
November 06, 2005

British pound - GBP - 23.140
Canadian dollar - CAD - 11.075
Swiss franc - CHF - 10.131
Danish krone - DKK - 2.096
Japanese yen - JPY - 0.111
Latvian lat - LVL - 22.467
Lithuanian lit - LTL - 4.532
Norwegian krone - NOK - 2.011
Russian rouble - RUB - 0.458
Swedish krona - SEK - 1.632
US dollar - USD - 13.097
Euro - EUR - 15.647



CULTURAL NEWS

A Colloquium treating the relationship between Estonia and France took place in Paris

Nov 5 - To commemorate the 150th anniversary of Andres Dido (1855-1921), fighter for Estonia's statehood and bearer of the republic-idea, a scientific colloquium from 4-5 November took place in the European House in Paris. The colloquium treated the relationship between Estonia and France.
In addition to the activities of Andres Dido, other topics were handled at the colloquium such as the historic aspects, which have led to Estonia's independence and the birth of the Republic. The history of the relationship between Estonia and France, covering the reciprocal contacts in different fields, including the biographies of outstanding figures, their works and expressions were also dealt with.
The colloquium has shed light on more recent history, supplying an overview of Estonia's gradual integration into the EU structure.
Estonian Ambassador to France, Andres Talvik opened the colloquium; historians, educators and literary researchers of the two countries participated in it.
The colloquium was arranged by the Estonian Section of the Institute of Oriental Languages and Cultures of Paris (INALCO), the Centre of Central European Studies, and the association; France-Estonie. The Estonian Embassy in France contributed to the arrangement and The French Cultural Centre in Estonia and Estonian Air also supported it.
On Friday, 4 November, Ambassador Andres Talvik conferred the Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana 4th Class upon the main organizer of the event, Antoine Chalvin and on the compiler of the “Black book of Communism,” Stephane Curtois.
Antoine Chalvin also heads the department of Oriental languages and cultures of Paris and teaches.


Estonia partook in the Nordic Film Festival in Lüübek

Nov 6 - The 47th Nordic Film Festival took place from 3-6 November in Lüübeck, Germany where Estonia was represented with three films: Liina Triskina's "Afanassi," René Vilbre's "Röövlirahnu Martin" and Priit Tender's, Ülo Pikkov's and Kaspar Jancise's, “Frank and Wendy.”
8-differnt titles are awarded each year at the festival, one of which is assigned in joint co-operation of Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian film agencies, known as the Baltic Film Award.
“Röövlirahnu Martin,” the film by ETV's chief director, René Vilbre was chosen as the top contester in the children's film category. Two juries gave out awards in this category: a children's jury and an adult's jury. Röövlirahnu Martin received this award with support of the adult jury.
This is the first-ever Estonian film to be awarded at the Nordic film festival. In all 11, films competed for this title.




ESTONIAN REVIEW is compiled from local news services, including BNS, and is issued by the Press and Information Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
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