Eesti in brief - 2008-11-12

  • 2008-11-12
The government has extended the defense force's peacekeeping missions in Kosovo and Bosnia-Herzegovina until the end of 2009. Estonia will continue in the composition of the NATO-led KFOR (Kosovo Forces) mission with up to 40 soldiers. At the moment there are 30 Estonian soldiers on mission in Kosovo. Most of the contingent is a 26-strong reconnaissance platoon made up of members of the paramilitary Defense League. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, the participation of Estonian soldiers will be extended to five staff officers and staff non-commissioned officers in the EU-led peacekeeping mission Althea. At the moment there are two Estonian soldiers serving in Sarajevo. Successful economic development of Bosnia and Herzigovina caused the European Union to considerably contract the number of its troops in the country and ruled not to conclude the operation Althea next year. About 2.1 million euros are earmarked for the year 2009 in Kosovo and 96,000 euros for the Althea missions. The Estonian defense forces have been taking part in the peacekeeping missions in Bosnia and Herzegovina since 1995 and in Kosovo since 1999.

The NATO cooperative Cyber Defense Center in Tallinn has received accreditation by the highest political leading body of NATO, The North-Atlantic Council, and received the status of an international military organization. "I am very pleased and honored to inform you that Estonia is now hosting in its territory a military organization accredited by NATO," said defense forces commander Lt. Gen Ants Laaneots. Major General Koen Gijbers, representative of the Allied Command Transformation, said that the cyber defense center is a good example of how "it is not necessary to be a major power in order to add value to NATO." Lieutenant Colonel Ilmar Tamm, commander of the Cyber Defense Center, added that Turkey and the United States will join the center in the near future and several other countries, including some non-NATO countries, such as Ukraine, Georgia, Finland and Sweden, have shown interest in cooperation with the center.

The level of trust that residents hold in the Estonian police has proven to be more or less stable over the past few years. Last year, the average trust level in the police was 75 percent, in 2006 - 72 percent, in 2005 - 71 percent and in 2004 - 70 percent, a recent survey has found. Since last year, the average trust rating of the police has not fallen under 72 percent in any month of the year. The last poll showed that in October, 79 percent of respondents trusted the police, which is a bit lower than January of the same year, when 84 and 81 percent claimed to trust the Estonian police. However, recently the level of trust is slightly higher than it was in February, with 78 percent.

Two Estonian films won some of the top prizes at film festivals in Belgium and the Netherlands last week. The Estonia movie "Life without Gabriella Ferri," directed by Priit Parn and Olga Marchenko, won the main prize at the Dutch animated films festival in Utrecht in the Netherlands. "Autumn Ball," a film by the Estonian director Vello Ounpuu received the Grand Prix at the 35th international independent films festival in Brussels. A total of 25 countries participated in this festival and, according to the organizers, about 20,000 people have viewed the films presented over the six days.