Eesti in brief - 2008-02-20

  • 2008-02-20
The government is expected to formally recognize Kosovo as an independent state at a government session on Feb. 21 (see story Page 1). Diplomatic ties may also be immediately established, according to Foreign Minister Urmas Paet. He noted that the decision to join with several other EU states in recognizing the former U.N.-administered province of Serbia was made in principle when it agreed to support the two-phase plan for independence drawn up by U.N. representative Martti Ahtisaari. "Lack of clarity is a much bigger danger than final clarity," Paet said following the Balkan country's declaration of independence.

Plans to amend the alcohol law to extend a nationwide ban on take-out sales from 11 p.m. to 8 a.m. suffered a setback when the government was unable to reach a consensus on the matter during a Feb. 14 meeting. Prime Minister Andrus Ansip of the Reform Party was quick to claim that the disagreement did not stem from a rift between government parties. The law, if amended, would replace and harmonize the various current measures in place by county and city governments. Currently there are several municipal areas in Estonia where take-out alcohol may be bought around the clock, while in other areas such as Tallinn there are bans starting at up to 8 p.m.

A massive military display is planned for the 90th anniversary of the Republic of Estonia on Feb. 23. The parade will start at 12 p.m. in Parnu and include 20 flag squads and much heavy military hardware. Last year the celebrations were canceled for the first time since independence due to sub-freezing temperatures. Changes were also recently made to the Estonian military's drill manual that abandoned the current goosestep march to the pre-WWII standards, much to the comfort of soldiers marching over the weekend. The length of the festive step will now be about 80 centimeters at the rate of 120 steps per minute.