Eesti in brief - 2004-09-09

  • 2004-09-09
Prime Minister Juhan Parts (photo) discussed the enlargement of the Schengen area with Antonio Vitorino, the European commissioner for justice and internal affairs. Vitorino said that the EU would be technically ready for the expansion by 2007, and Parts said that Estonia has launched a three-year program to prepare the country for the Schengen zone by 2007. The EU will support the Estonian program with 76 million euros.

The Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church has sent Rael Leedjarv to Atemo, Kenya, as a missionary. Leedjarv, a 27-year-old Swedish linguist and the fourth missionary to be sent out by the EELC in the last 13 years, will spend four years in Kenya. The missionary is in cooperation with Finnish and Swedish religious organizations.

The Estonian School of Diplomats will train 15 Ukrainian and 10 Georgian diplomats and state officials this autumn in an attempt to share the experience of joining the EU and NATO. The school intends to offer similar training to diplomats of all former Soviet republics.

Political parties' ratings somewhat equalized by the end of August, according to the Emor pollster. Leading the poll was the Center Party and the Reform Party with 14 percent each, followed by the Social Democrats (11 percent) and People's Union (9 percent). Res Publica, the key party of the ruling coalition, had gained 1 percent since July and registered 8 percent support. Pro Patria Union went up by 3 percent, ending on the same line as Res Publica.

Estonia will probably leave the position of cultural attache in Moscow unoccupied as Russia refused to issue a visa to Ivi Eenmaa (photo), the former Tallinn mayor and MP who was designated by the Estonian side. "We will bear in mind that Russia does not need an Estonian culture attache," Culture Minister Urmas Paet told the Eesti Paevaleht daily.

Border guards and customs officials seized 115,400 cigarettes, this year's largest haul of contraband tobacco, on Sept. 2 in Narva. The cigarettes were hidden in a vehicle of a 25-year-old Estonian resident going from Russia to Estonia.