Eesti in brief - 2004-12-09

  • 2004-12-09
The development of economic ties is the most promising field of cooperation between Estonia and Israel, Prime Minister Juhan Parts and his Israeli counterpart, Ariel Sharon, stated last week in Jerusalem. Since joining the EU, the Baltic country has been negotiating a free-trade agreement with Israel. The two countries are about to finalize the agreement on avoiding double-taxation.

The center-left Center Party, one of the nation's most popular, said it would sign a cooperation agreement with the United Russia party, the ruling, pro-Kremlin political force in Russia. The agreement will consider cooperation in the fields of education, culture and economic affairs. Party leadership, including ex-Tallinn Mayor Edgar Savisaar, were criticized for penning the agreement with United Russia given the Kremlin's propaganda campaign against Estonia and its increasingly authoritarian ways.

The state police department plans to switch from buying cars to leasing them. The innovation will reportedly save about 4 million euros in the next five years and provide officers owning new cars with replacement options. It is up to the Finance Ministry to approve the plan.

The European anti-fraud office OLAF has ended its investigation of three out of the country's five cases opened in connection with the alleged misuse of EU funds. Out of the new EU member states, OLAF has investigated fewer cases in Latvia and Lithuania, while Romania has registered over 10 cases.

Two men kept in pretrial detention in Tartu prison were caught trying to escape. Allar, 21, and Madis, 23, were waiting to be tried on theft charges. Prison officers caught the two on the roof of an administrative building after the detainees managed to break the bars on the window in their room. Police said the prisoners were stopped thanks to the facility's movement indicators and video surveillance system.

The first international conference on World War II and the Baltics, aimed at leveling anti-Estonian propaganda coming from Russia, will take place in the Baltic country next March or April in order "to create a necessary background for the May 9 celebrations," said Population Affairs Minister Paul-Eerik Rummo. Rummo heads the recently created governmental commission on the freedom monument, commemoration of freedom fighters and representation of the country's modern history.