The minimum wage level for foreign workers should be set to protect the economy from cheap imported workers, Minister of Economic Affairs and Communications Edgar Savisaar said. He added that more information about foreign workers should be collected to determine how many were operating in Estonia, and how many Estonians were working abroad. It was also recommended that residence and work permit applications be simplified, and that the paperwork demanded of companies and foreign workers be stripped back. The recommendations will be put before the government in one month.
A survey conducted by the Austrian newspaper Neue Karntner Tageszeitung ranked the Baltic prime ministers among the lowest paid leaders in Europe. Prime Minister Andrus Ansip was ranked sixth lowest paid, earning 4,000 euros a month. Lithuania's followed in fifth place at 3,633 euros a month, while Latvia's ranked second to last at 3,108 euros per month, ahead of only Slovakia. German Chancellor Angela Merkel topped the list with a salary of 21,262 euros a month.
A recent poll ranked Toomas Hendrik Ilves as the most popular presidential candidate. Ilves, a Social Democrat who represents Estonia in the European Parliament, was found to be more popular than current President Arnold Ruutel and the controversial Center Party leader Edgar Savisaar. The survey, published in the daily Eesti Paevaleht, found that Ilves would win 36 percent of the vote, ahead of Ruutel at 24 percent and Savisaar at 11 percent. Most of Ilves' support would come from ethnic Estonians, while non-Estonians favor Ruutel, who has already stated he would not take part in the parliamentary round of elections scheduled for this fall. He is expected to make an announcement in two weeks, ahead of a board meeting of his party, the People's Union. The poll was carried out May 5-17 by Turu-uuringute AS.
An 18-year-old high school student from Tartu was crowned Miss Estonia. Leisi Poldsam was named the winner of the beauty pageant during a Kanal 2 television broadcast on June 4. For the first time, the competition was decided by the public via an SMS poll. Poldsam will go on to compete in the Miss World competition, which will be held in Poland on Sept. 30.
Estonia has opened its first Ukrainian honorary consulate in the city of Simferopol, and plans to open two additional offices in the country. Foreign Minister Urmas Paet and Ambassador Paul Lettens opened the consulate on June 2, announcing businessman Igor Sergeyev as the first honorary consul. Paet last week told The Baltic Times that strengthening Estonian's foreign representation was one of his top priorities.