• 2004-11-10
Estonia's Parliament has announced its intention to draw up a special law for appointing representatives to various EU positions. On Nov. 8, Legal Chancellor Allar Joks put forward three options to the European affairs committee: either to amend the Government Act, amend the Foreign Relations Act, or write a new law. The chairman of the EU affairs committee, Rein Lang, said that members of the panel and the legal chancellor agreed that choosing representatives could not be left as a freely evolving practice. It was also agreed that the matter should not be regulated by the Foreign Relations Act. Representatives are currently appointed to EU jobs in accordance with the government's working regulations.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed into law a bill on the ratification of a protocol to the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the EU and Russia, extending the accord to new member states of the bloc, the presidential press service reported on Nov. 6. The May 2004 accession of 10 new EU member states, including Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, were the reason for the recent protocol. The bill was passed by Parliament's lower house and the State Duma on Oct. 22, after which it was passed by the Federation Council's upper house on Oct. 27.

Mine-hunters from nine NATO states, including Lithuania, have planned an unofficial visit to Klaipeda Port on Nov. 12, due to last until Nov. 15. The team will include two warships from Norway, one each from Germany, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Belgium and Poland. Two Estonian warships, and one ship from Latvia and Lithuania - assigned to the Baltic squadron - will also attend. All vessels belong to NATO's high-readiness Mine Countermeasures Force North, to which Lithuania's navy warships will be delegated in the future. The NATO ships will be open to Klaipeda residents and visitors over the weekend.

Latvia's Foreign Minister Artis Pabriks has expressed satisfaction over plans for Rolf Ekeuss, high commissioner on minority issues for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, to visit Russia, as it shows the organization is trying to get more involved with human-rights issues. The minister said he hoped that: "The visit would also discuss various human rights related issues, including racism, anti-semitism and forms of hatred in Russia, as well as discuss cooperation for solving human-rights issues in the northern Caucasus region." Ekeuss arrived for his three-day visit in Russia on Nov. 8. For years Russia has claimed that Latvia is violating the human rights of its Russian minority, which makes up around about 28 percent of the population.