Eesti in brief - 2006-05-10

  • 2006-05-10
Head of the Russian Federation Council's (upper house) foreign affairs committee Mikhail Margelov expressed his hope that Estonia and Russia would improve mutual relations. Parliamentarians from the two countries will meet in Pskov this week to discuss bilateral relations. "The differences that currently exist between our countries 's primarily the border issue, transit, and the situation with the Baltics' Russian-speaking population 's can be settled in the course of inter-parliamentary and interregional consultations," Margelov told the Russian news agency Interfax on May 9. In his words, inter-parliamentary cooperation is an important instrument for international diplomacy, which is not crippled by prejudice or restrictions. "On this level, it is possible to talk more openly about Russian-Estonian problems and easier to work out common views on disputed issues," the politician observed.

Estonian residents have a surprisingly positive perception of globalization, a recent study by Eurobarometer, the TNS Emor pollster, reported. The survey shows that 65 percent of Estonians support EU enlargement, and 51 percent believe the opening of markets will provide domestic companies with good opportunities for development. Thirty-seven percent of all European citizens believe enlargement will bring economic success, but are more inclined than Estonians to see globalization as a threat to the economy and workforce. According to the study, one out of two Estonians are convinced their country is headed in the right direction. In Europe as a whole, this opinion is shared by one out of three respondents.

The activity of foreign intelligence agencies has risen in recent years, with NATO and EU information being the primary target, according to security police. "Estonia-directed intelligence activities have not shown a declining trend in recent years, rather the opposite," security police spokesman Henno Kuurmann told the Baltic News Service. Other countries have classic intelligence interests - information necessary for forming one's own foreign, economic and defense policies - in Estonia, he observed. The Baltic state's political and economic ties with Russia are also kept under watch, Kuurmann noted. Intelligence services of non-NATO and non-EU countries are, above all, interested in matters relating to the two alliances, as well as in Estonia's power structures and defense capability, he said.