MP Olev Laanjarv abandoned the Social Liberals group and returned to the Center Party faction this week. Laanjarv was one of the eight MPs to leave the Center Party faction, citing a lack of democratic procedures within the party. At the time, the rebel MPs were stripped of their party membership. Explaining his decision, Laanjarv, who did not restore his membership in the Center Party, said it was impossible to work efficiently in Parliament without belonging to a faction. The Center Party faction now has 20 MPs.
Mikhail Margelov, the Pskov region representative in Russia's Council of Federation, said last week that signing the border treaty between Russia, Estonia and Latvia would make the Pskov region more attractive for investments. "I think that the Pskov region's participation in the EU partnership program after signing the border treaties between Russia, Estonia and Latvia would stimulate investments in infrastructure projects. We must think about getting EU money into the Pskov region," Margelov was quoted as saying.
Outgoing PM Juhan Parts met Robert Zoellick, U.S. deputy secretary of state, on April 4 in Tallinn. Both agreed that continuation of the democratic reforms in Georgia and Ukraine was essential for the development of Europe as a whole. Zoellick and Parts also agreed that, in relations with Russia, a common approach based on democratic values would have to be taken by both the European Union and the United States.
Veterans of the Red Army living in Estonia will in mid-April receive medals dedicated to the 60th anniversary of their victory in World War II. The 8,500 medals will be shipped from Russia on a Russian Embassy bus.
The Defense Forces will this month receive 30 Pasi XA-180 armored personnel carriers purchased from the Finnish army and 30 more by the end of the next year. The APCs, meant mostly for the Scouts Battalion, the country's rapid reaction unit, cost the Estonian budget 12.7 million euros. After the purchase, the number of APCs in the Estonian Defense Forces nearly tripled. The new machines will first be used during the Spring Storm military exercise in May.
Employees are less dedicated to their work, compared with the EU average, according to a survey by TNS Emor pollster. In the dedication index, which analyzes satisfaction with work, emotional connection and motivation, Estonians scored 55 points, while the European average stands at 59. At the same time, employees in Latvia and Lithuania scored 50 and 48 points respectively. Dedication of high-profile workers was higher than that of unskilled laborers. The pollster emphasized that the dedication of Estonian residents working in healthcare, education and the public sector was high as those fields are considered to be vocational.