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Eesti in brief - 2012-12-13

Dec 12, 2012

In ten weeks, starting from Sept. 21, Tallinn City has distributed 64,000 transport cards, with which almost a quarter of their owners use the cards when riding public transport, reports LETA. Overall, 18,000 persons have used the latest transport cards which entitle the owners to take a ride on public transport for free starting from next year. The card is personal for each public transport passenger and should be validated at the beginning of each ride via an electronic validator. Access to the card has been granted to all capital city inhabitants and all Estonian schoolchildren. The transport cards are available in stores Prisma, Maxima, and Selver, as well as at the post office, and in the client service unit at the city government. Pensioners can receive the cards for free at the post office.

The European Union delegation in Turkey has organized a film festival in Turkey from Dec. 10-12, 2012, which this year is dedicated to human rights, reports LETA. A total of 11 countries are participating in the film festival and one film, which will be shown in popular cinemas in Turkey’s ten biggest cities, is the Estonian full-length animated film ‘Lotte and the Moonstone Secret,’ which has been dubbed into Turkish for the occasion. The screenings of the film are free. Participation in the festival is a good opportunity to introduce Estonian animated films in Turkey. In addition, through the event the importance of human rights can be addressed in Estonia’s foreign policy, which is particularly important since Estonia will soon be a member of the UN Human Rights Council, said the Foreign Ministry.

While preparing for the upcoming EU-Russia summit taking place on Dec. 21, at a meeting of the European Union foreign ministers in Brussels on Dec. 10, Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said that during the summit the focus should be on resolving particular problems, like adhering to the guidelines of the World Trade Organization (WTO), including ending the ban on the import of live animals from the European Union into Russia, which is an essential point for Estonia, reports LETA. While discussing starting negotiations for a visa waiver between the European Union and Russia, Paet said that first a visa dialogue complete with joint steps and an action plan must be implemented, which would include getting rid of the long queues at the border. Serious cooperation and progress is also expected from Russia in resolving frozen conflicts. “Russia plays an essential role in resolving the Transnistria problem and in restoring relations with Georgia. The new Georgian government has repeatedly expressed its desire to repair relations with Russia,” he said. Paet also stated that Estonia still expects progress to be made in the negotiations for a new EU-Russia Cooperation Agreement, in which the trade and investment aspect should also be included. Other topics to be discussed are matters of international importance, such as the situation in Syria.

The support to the leading Estonian coalition party, the Reform Party, fell to 21.4 percent at the end of November, which means that it lost the position of the most popular party in Estonia that it had held for years to the Social Democrats, shows a poll by TNS Emor, reports Public Broadcasting. The most popular party, according to the interim poll commissioned by Public Broadcasting, was the opposition’s Estonian Social Democratic Party (SDP) with 30 percent support. The biggest opposition party, the Center Party with 24 percent support, was also ahead of the Reform Party. Junior coalition member Pro Patria and Res Publica Union was supported by 17.3 percent of the polled. Public Broadcasting decided to reveal the interim, or initial, results of the party rating ahead of schedule as Postimees cited misleading polling results last week.

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