Tag Archives: Estonia

Erdogan blocks NATO Baltic advancement

Turkey announced it will oppose NATO’s plans for enhancing defence of three Baltic countries if the Alliance does not recognize militant groups that Ankara defines as terrorist, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday, ahead of a NATO alliance summit in London.

Relations between Turkey and its NATO allies have been strained over a number of issues, ranging from Ankara’s decision to purchase Russian air defense systems S-400  to policy vis-à-vis Syria. Several NATO members condemned Turkey’s decision to launch an offensive into northeastern Syria against the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia.

Ankara has refused to back NATO defense plan for the Baltics and Poland until it receives more support for its battle with the YPG, which it assesses as a terrorist organization.

Israel strengthens ties with Baltic Republics

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu began his visit in Lithuania, saying he hoped to deepen ties with eastern EU nations as Brussels blasted Israel’s plans for fresh settlements in the West Bank.

Dozens of Pro-Palestinian activists waved Palestinian flags and chanted that Netanyahu was “not welcome” while railing against Lithuania‘s ties with Israel outside government buildings in the capital Vilnius, where he held talks with his Lithuanian counterpart Saulius Skvernelis.

Netanyahu thanked Skvernelis for the “strong position you’ve taken in forums of the EU on behalf of truth, on behalf of Israel, on behalf of decency“.

Israel is often mistreated by the EU in Brussels, there are many distortions that are levelled at us, and it is refreshing to see that you take a stand of clarity, of truth and of courage, and we discussed how that can be expanded,Netanyahu added.

Israel approved plans for more than 1,000 settlement homes in the occupied West Bank prompting EU spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic to say that the bloc was “strongly opposed” to Israel’s “illegal” settlement policy, calling it “an obstacle to peace”.

The settlements “would further jeopardise the prospect of a contiguous and viable future Palestinian state,”  Kocijancic continued.

Netanyahu said he wanted “to achieve a balance in the European Union’s not always friendly relations with Israel” ahead of the the first-ever visit by an Israeli premier to Lithuania.

Israeli PM will meet the leaders of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia in Vilnius  during the visit, which is set to last until Sunday, August 26.

Estonia – highest gender pay gap in EU

Approaching the International Women Day 2018, the EU assesses the work to be done to achieve gender equality. In 2016, the unadjusted gender pay gap stood at just over 16% in the European Union. In other words, women earned on average 84 cents for every euro a man makes per hour. Across Member States, the gender pay gap in 2016 ranged from just over 5% in Romania and Italy, to more than 25% in Estonia, followed by the Czech Republic and Germany (both almost 22%). 8 March 2018: International Women’s Day-Women in the EU earned on average 16% less than men in 2016 – Lowest pay gap in Romania and Italy, highest in Estonia.

NATO requests broader monitoring of Russia and Belarus

Russia and Belarus say the Zapad 2017 exercise, which runs from September 14-20 not far from the borders of NATO allies Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, will involve less than 13,000 troops, but NATO believes that number will actually be into six figures. Under international rules, the two should allow wider access to monitors if troop numbers exceed that figure.

NATO officials said there will be three experts on mission to observe military exercises between Russia and Belarus, but alliance Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg wants the two countries to allow broader monitoring.

NATO spokesperson Oana Lungescu said the three experts will attend so-called Visitors’ Days in Belarus and Russia after they were invited to attend.

But she said international rules permit monitors to have much wider access, including briefings on the exercise, opportunities to talk to soldiers and overflights.

Italy overwhelmed by migrants high tight

At the meeting Tallinn, Estonia,  the EU interior ministers agreed to reinforce the Libyan coastguard, apply deportations of migrants, rejected the asylum status, and provide funds to African countries to defeat poverty forcing people to search better life in Europe.

EU interior ministers had also a message to NGOs actively rescuing migrants in the Mediterranean sea, to work closely with Libya’s coastguard, amid raising public concerns of their assistance, encouraging Africans to risk their life in a dangerous sea crossing.

Escaping conflicts, terrorism and poverty, the migrants continue to arrive to Italy in overwhelming numbers, causing strain on the society, hosting almost 100 000 new arrivals this year, which is reportedly 20% higher than the level of migration tight in 2016.

The European Commission fears that NGOs running rescue services off the Libyan coast are encouraging migrants to risk their lives in shabby dinghies expecting to be picked up close to Libyan coast and then ferried 200 km over the sea to Italy to stay in Europe happy ever after.

The journey is not free of charge, but a highly lucrative trade of local traffickers profiting from misery and despair.

https://twitter.com/V_of_Europe/status/882888263035486209

 

Estonian EU presidency digital agenda

The priorities of the Estonian presidency build on the European Council’s strategic agenda and common goals formulated by the member states and the EU institutions in the Rome declaration on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Rome Treaties. The Estonian presidency will focus on preserving the common values of prosperity, security, peace and stability in Europe. It will seek to maintain Europe’s unity through practical decisions.

During the next 6 months, the presidency will focus on four key areas: an open and innovative European economy, a safe and secure Europe, digital Europe and free movement of data as well as an inclusive and sustainable Europe.

Estonia controls border with Lativa

This week, the Police and Border Guard Department of Estonia will introduce temporary control of documents on the internal border of the EU between Estonia and Latvia to test the capabilities of its services, as well as cooperation with its southern neighbour.

The press service of the Police and Border Guard Department confirms that the exercises that begin on Tuesday, 7.06.2017, and will focus on logistics and resource planning,

According to the official Helen Neyder-Weerme, four checkpoints will be temporarily opened on Tuesday, the 7th  and Wednesday  the 8th of June, on the land border of Estonia and Latvia – in the city of Valga, as well as in Myizakyla, Vastse-Roosa, Murati and Ikla.

In addition, extra patrols will be sent to the border areas, which will conduct a random check of vehicles and documents, as well as gather information concerning the movement of people.

On June 6 and 7, all those crossing the border of Estonia and Latvia need to be prepared for possible checks of documents and vehicles, said Nader-Weerme.

Tajani for success of Estonian Presidency

“We are very much available to help to ensure that the first Estonian presidency would be a success for all of the EU,“ said Parliament President Antonio Tajani on his visit to Estonia on Tuesday 30 May. He was there together with representatives of the Parliament’s political groups to discuss the priorities of the upcoming Estonian presidency of the EU with the country’s political leaders.

Estonia takes over the presidency of the EU Council in July, which means it will play a key role in facilitating the adoption of new EU legislation.

President Tajani had a meeting with Estonian Prime Minister Jüri Ratas in the morning, which was followed by a meeting between the Parliament delegation and representatives from the Estonian government.  Topics discussed included the fight against terrorism, the security of the EU’s external borders and the migration crisis with particular focus on developments in Africa. In addition there was a discussion on social policy, which concentrated on young people and unemployment.

In a press conference afterwards, Tajani stressed the importance offered by the digital economy:  “We believe that via digitalisation we can make Europe more competitive. The digital single market is a fantastic opportunity.” He added that in order to develop digital skills people would need to be trained.

Other topics discussed included climate change and Brexit. “We have to be united on the issue of Brexit. If we are united, we can find a fair solution,” Tajani said.

Estonia at heart of NATO

NATO Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller began a two-day visit to Estonia on Friday (12 May 2017), stressing that Allied forces in Estonia are at the heart of NATO’s collective defence. Visiting British infantry troops at a training range in Tapa, the Deputy Secretary General said that all Allies stand united against any threat. The British army is leading a battlegroup of about 1,000 NATO troops in Estonia. NATO is expanding its presence in the region in response to Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and its military build-up in the Baltic region.

Addressing engineers, anti-tank troops and snipers at the Tapa training range, the Deputy Secretary General welcomed that troops from the United Kingdom stand side-by-side with their colleagues from Estonia, making clear this sends a strong message of unity.  At Tapa, the Deputy Secretary General also received briefings by military officers on exercise Spring Storm, which is currently taking place in Estonia with 9,000 troops from several Allied countries taking part. Also on Friday, Ms. Gottemoeller held talks with Estonian Defence Ministers Margus Tsahkna on the current security environment and progress in the deployment of NATO troops to the Baltic States.

On Saturday, the Deputy Secretary General is scheduled to participate in the annual Lennart Mari Conference, where she will speak on the importance of NATO-EU cooperation for European security. Ms. Gottemoeller will wrap up her visit to Estonia by seeing NATO naval forces in Tallinn harbor, where she will thank sailors onboard the Norwegian navy frigate Roald Amundsen for their service in the defence on the Alliance.

Is Pence pessimistic about EU?

pence-merkel

While “unwavering” in its support for Nato, vice-president Mike Pence was silent about the European Union at the Munich Security Conference.

In his address to the European leaders he underlined that US would “stand with Europe today and every day”, but the same time he regretted that the majority of the Euope’s governments were “failing to pay their fair share” for defense, “eroding” the foundation of the alliance. Apparently, enjoying the US security umbrella, only four Nato countries had met a 2014 commitment to spend 2% of GDP on defence. Nato estimates for 2016 among allies the UK, Greece, Poland and Estonia met the obligations, while the other were US security ‘consumers’.

However the concerns about the ‘moderation’ of US support to NATO in case the situation will not improve, is secondary to the notion of the disbelief of the new US administration of the survival of the EU beyond 2017.

The US vice-president’s silence does not send an encouragement sign to Brussels, already concerned by the personality of the new US ‘ambassador to be’ to the EU, who compared the current situation in the block with the crumbling USSR. Ted Malloch, belonging to the president’s inner circle, has raised a wave of protests from Brussels politicians by comparing the EU to the Soviet Union, profiling himself as an active contributor to its collapse.