Nearly 7 percent of Estonians plan to move to another EU country in the next five years, according to a mobility report released by the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions. According to survey data, people aged between 18 and 35 and those with higher education are the most likely to depart. Most said they plan to leave in order to find higher wages and better working conditions. Foundation director Jorma Karppinen said the "brain drain" out of eastern EU states was a more serious problem for Europe than the integration of immigrants in richer EU states. The foundation based its figures on a poll carried out in the second half of 2005.
The government protested the presence of an alleged German spy ship off Estonia's coast. According to a report in The Economist magazine, a German ship was spotted in Estonia's economic zone in September and October. Sonar sounding was detected on the sea floor in an area close to the proposed Russian-German gas pipeline track. Estonia's protest was rejected as ridiculous by Germany, the journal reported. According to the Estonian Border Guard service, the ships did not violate any laws as they stayed in international shipping lanes.
The fast hydrofoil service connecting Tallinn to Helsinki ended on Dec. 4 as Lindaline shipping boats made their last trips for the season. Lindaline will cease to operate its two hydrofoils, which depart from Tallinn's Linnahall, during the winter. The shipping company said season ticket holders could use their passes on Eckero Line ships during the winter.
Right after the departure of U.S. President George W. Bush, American Ambassador to Estonia Aldona Wos announced she was also leaving the country. Her replacement is expected to be Stanley Davis Phillips, a North Carolina businessman and a major Bush campaign contributor. Phillips' brother, Earl Phillips Jr., has also enjoyed a stint as an ambassador, serving as the Barbados-based representative to the eastern Caribbean.
The Swedish seamen's trade union, SEKO, has demanded 1.8 million kroons (115,000 euros) from Tallink in compensation for a conflict onboard the Silja Symphony ship during which its executives allegedly abused staff members. The union said each of the seven offended crew members deserved compensation after three Tallink executives abused staff physically and verbally during a drunken party. Tallink offered the workers a weekend in the company spa, a trade-off the union labeled "ridiculous."
An Estonian Air passenger plane collided with a ground support vehicle at Tallinn Airport on Nov. 30, forcing the plane out of service and causing schedule changes. The Boeing 737-500 struck a support vehicle at 1 p.m., although nobody was injured in the collision. Estonian Air said it would contact customers whose flights are disrupted by the schedule changes. The company has launched an internal inquiry into the accident.