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Eesti in brief - 2009-11-25

  • 2009-11-25

The feasibility study of a rail tunnel between Tallinn and Helsinki could start next October, reports LETA. The necessary support from Europe has to be received since the finances promised for the project by Helsinki and Tallinn won’t be sufficient, say Merle Krigul, head of Euregio, a company involved in the project. “The first thing we want is to get money from the EU program to conduct the study and the first study could be complete in two years,” she said. Only then can the first conclusions be drawn on whether there is any point in planning the tunnel at all. Krigul said that launching a train ferry between the two cities has also been discussed but a tunnel would be more effective due to winter conditions. The Estonian side location for the tunnel start has been selected, in Muuga. In Helsinki several versions are being considered.

Prime Minister Andrus Ansip met with his Finnish counterpart Matti Vanhanen to discuss co-operation between the two countries, reports vm.ee. The prime ministers stated that great strides had been made in strengthening co-operation in the fields of information and communications technology, developing energy infrastructure and improving the business environment. Ansip said that success has accompanied the development of cross-border energy infrastructure, and co-operation has been good between Estonian and Finnish transmission network operators in connection with preparations for the construction of the Estlink-2 electric cable and the amalgamation of the energy markets of the Nordic and Baltic countries. Projects involving e-identification have also been initiated in the fields of information and communications technologies. This year the cross-border recognition of digital signatures between Estonia and Finland was launched, as a result of which Finnish citizens, like the citizens of Portugal, Lithuania and Belgium, are now able to create companies in Estonia over the Internet.

Tallinn featured prominently in the British newspaper The Times in a review of the best places to buy gifts and enjoy the lights at a traditional festive Christmas market, reports bbn.ee. The Christmas market, in Town Hall Square, will take place from Nov. 28 until Jan. 7. This is said to be the site of the world’s first Christmas tree, which formed part of a ritual begun in 1441, when unmarried merchants sang and danced with the town’s girls around a tree, which they then burned. Organizers expect 200,000 visitors to the city this year, but will abstain from the tree burning. The goal for the Christmas Market is to provide genuine Christmas joy, with a culture program and leisure time activities. The mayor will proclaim the Christmas Peace, reading the Christmas declaration from the window of the Town Hall to the townsfolk and visitors below on the Square. The Christmas Market was first held in 2000.