Eesti in brief - 2010-08-19

  • 2010-08-18

From Sept. 8, Estonian citizens who wish to travel to the United States will have to start paying a state fee of 14 dollars (approximately 165 kroons), reports LETA. Patrick McNeil, the U.S. consul in Estonia, explained that the money will be used for promoting the tourism economy sector of the U.S. as well as cover the costs of reviewing the electronic entry permit applications. The U.S. waived the visa requirement for Estonian citizens in Nov. 2008, when it started issuing electronic entry permits with two-year validity that makes it possible for one to stay in the United States for up to 90 days in a row. EU Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom noted that the new fee imposed by the United States is regrettable and not in compliance with the pledges made by the U.S. to simplify trans-Atlantic travel. At the same time the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs emphasized that all countries have the sovereign right to regulate entry to their territories.

GfK carried out a poll at the beginning of August that revealed that Estonian residents are not prepared to pay higher prices for energy produced from renewable sources, reports EPL Online. While last summer, 67 percent of respondents stated that they would not pay more for greener energy, in 2010 this was the position of 71 percent of those polled. “The prices, including the prices of electricity, have grown since the last survey, and therefore people have become even more skeptical about all kinds of proposals that might increase their costs,” commented Raimond Kaljulaid, head of the PR-company PRB that had commissioned the poll. Similarly to the results of the survey that was carried out in 2009, younger persons, particularly students, were more prepared to pay higher prices for renewable energy. Mauri Soot, sociologist of the polling company GfK, estimated that on one hand, young people are more open to increasing environmental awareness, while on the other hand some of them are still dependent on their parents and can hence afford to be more idealistic.