Eesti in brief - 2012-07-26

  • 2012-07-25

The interior ministers of Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania made a joint statement to the European Commission on July 23, expressing concerns over the effects that would accompany Russian visa freedom and presented proposals to prevent problems, reports Public Broadcasting. Estonia’s Interior Ministry said that the Commission was requested to present proposals on the so-called e-borders package, or pan-European entrance and exit registry. Finnish public broadcasting writes that one measure that is requested for the Eastern border in the case of visa freedom is biometric border crossing that would help reduce crime and discover victims of human trafficking via identifying fingerprints. Estonian Interior Minister Ken-Marti Vaher said that with the visa freedom, the main challenge would be increased immigration and cross-border crime, including human trafficking. It also means a growing workload for border checkpoints and internal security agencies. “The European Union is not ready for visa-freedom and we cannot speak about it before the so-called e-borders package has been implemented. We need additional compensation measures and refinancing from the next EU financial perspective,” said Vaher.

According to Justice Ministry crime barometer data, fewer murders and cases of manslaughter were registered in the first half of this year in Estonia than at the same time last year, and the general crime level also fell, reports Public Broadcasting. In the first six months of this year, 40 cases of murder and manslaughter (including attempts) were registered versus 47 at the same time last year, Justice Ministry spokesman Priit Talv said. The figure is the lowest for the past five years. In the first six months of this year, 20,026 crimes were registered altogether, 574 less than a year ago. The number of thefts fell 7 percent or by 704 cases. The number of robberies fell 15 percent. The number of anti-person crimes grew: bodily abuse grew by 13 percent or 292 cases; the number of threats grew by 14 percent. The number of traffic crimes grew by 8 percent or 137 cases.