Eesti in brief - 2011-05-26

  • 2011-05-25

Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said that the people who kidnapped Estonian tourists in Lebanon have not presented any demands, reports National Broadcasting. In a short video address posted on the Web on May 19, one of the kidnapped Estonians says that the Estonian government has abandoned them and does not wish to help them. Paet said that the Estonians were ordered to read pre-written text. “The important thing is that such an address has come again and it is confirmation that our citizens are alive,” said Paet. On May 19, a new video with a plea from seven Estonian tourists who were kidnapped two months ago in Lebanon was posted; most likely the video had been recorded on May 16, The seven Estonian tourists were kidnapped in the Bekaa valley in Lebanon on March 23 and have not been found. Paet confirmed that the Estonian state will continue searching for the kidnapped Estonians in an effort to reach a positive solution. On April 20, the first video appeared in YouTube, where the kidnapped Estonians asked for help.

According to Eurostat data, the Estonian state spends the largest amount of GDP on culture among all European Union member states, reports National Broadcasting. From 2001-2009, the Estonian state spending on culture has amounted to 2-2.3 percent of GDP and has been in the top position in the EU. “The percentage is high in Estonia because Estonia is inevitably such a small country that in order to keep national culture alive and culture sustainable, the number of culture institutions that the state has to support has to be big,” said Estonian Culture Chamber board member Kaarel Oja. State Chancellery strategy bureau strategy director Keit Kasemets said that in Estonia, a lot of financing for culture comes from the public sector while in many other countries, the part of private financing, sponsorship, is bigger and the money culture institutions earn themselves is bigger.