Press Digest, Friday, January 25


PHOTO: Toomas Huik


European Commission to sue Estonia. The European Commission has decided to sue Estonia, Bulgaria and Great Britain over failure to adopt EU electricity and natural gas directives on time. The countries should have complied with the directives in full by March 3, 2011.

The committee has recommended Estonia be fined 5,068.80 euros per day for every insufficiently adopted electricity directive and 4,224 euros per day for partly adopted gas directives. Press representative of the economy ministry Rasmus Ruuda said that the content of accusations is impenetrable as the commission's notice fails to list any concrete directives Estonia has allegedly failed to adopt.

Ruuda added that it is difficult for the state to give any comments at this time as Estonia will get its first chance to inspect accusations in two months' time when the commission will state its claim in court. The commission's notice also reads that it has previously discussed these matters with all three countries by sending them corresponding memorandums in 2011.

Putin calls for good relations. President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin said yesterday, when accepting the credentials of Estonia Ambassador Jüri Luik, that Russia is prepared to develop good-neighborly relations with Estonia.

"We are neighbors, our interests overlap in several fields. I propose we put this positive potential to good use," Putin said. The president assured the ambassador that Russia is prepared to build on constructive relations based on good-neighborly principles and respect for mutual interests.

President of Estonia Toomas Hendrik Ilves said that Estonia has always wished for mutually respectful relations with its neighbor. "We are prepared for openhearted, businesslike and lasting dialogue on all subjects that concern Estonia-Russia relations and Russia's relations with the EU and NATO," Ilves said.


Coalition partners express support for VEB fund investigative committee. The Reform Party and Pro Patria Res Publica Union (IRL) Riigikogu factions have voiced their support for the creation of an investigative committee to look into past transactions of the VEB fund, following a corresponding proposal from the Social Democrat Party (SDE) two days ago.

The ruling parties were opposed to the formation of a committee just a few days earlier. The Center Party has also voiced its support. In addition to the parliament, the National Audit Office is considering a new audit in the case.

"Questions left hanging in the air need to be answered," said chairman of the SDE faction Eiki Nestor. "The committee will be looking into the reasons and circumstances upon which the Bank of Estonia issued a document that included falsified data," Nestor added.

A recent Bank of Estonia audit revealed that Vice-president of the Bank of Estonia at the time Vahur Kraft signed a letter to the Russian Foreign Economy Bank in 1995 notifying the bank of Russian company TSL International's 32.3 million dollar claim. The company's actual claim was zero dollars.

Police looking to relax language requirement. The Police and Border Guard Board has made a proposal to the internal ministry to relax the language proficiency requirement of police officers aimed at finding more suitable candidates for positions in Ida-Viru County where the board currently has no fewer than 108 vacancies.

The proposal would complement the list of positions where a B2 proficiency level would suffice and abolish the current plan of demanding C1 proficiency from all officials by 2015. The board is also looking to hike regional bonuses for Ida-Viru County policemen from the current 80 euros a month to 200 euros. Higher regional bonuses and more employees would call for additional financing however, said the board's press representative Margit Mander.