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Old 11-05-2007, 18:50   #241
Sunrider Sunrider is offline
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Originally Posted by haku View Post
It's a thorny issue for Estonia, the Russian minority makes no secret that it sees Estonia pretty much as a Russian oblast, it's difficult for a country to give citizenship to people who think the country should not exist. And we have to remember that those Russians were brought there by the USSR in a process of forced russification of the area and the locals, it's difficult for Russians to claim that they are an oppressed minority when they had themselves no regards for the Estonian minority in the USSR to begin with.
Forced russification is a process that has been going on from the Baltic to the Pacific since the old days of the Russian empire, the Komi republic is a good example of that, 92% Komi in 1926, 60% Russian now, a slow but effective process, the same thing was happening in Estonia until it broke away from the USSR.

It's no secret that many Russian politicians would want Russia to go back to its historical imperial borders, the LDPR (with which our own Tatu girls are good friends) even has it written in its platform, and that Russian minorities in neighboring countries are used as an excuse for a potential territorial expansion. Even though the ruling party United Russia doesn't go as far as the LDPR in terms of territorial claims, it does favor a return to the former USSR borders (with possibly Finland as an added bonus), and it is particularly irritated with the loss of the Baltic states since it has caused the Kaliningrad oblast to become detached from Russia proper, the Baltic states joining the EU has even reinforced that seperation since the free movements of goods and people within the EU implies a reinforced border around non-EU Kaliningrad.
And it was Atilla who brought the huns to Hungaria. Your point being? 30% of the population of Estonia are Russians. They are there, and they are not going to go away no matter how badly they are being treated (and they are being treated VERY badly). It's a reality Estonia had better come to terms with; polarising the two major ethnicities further certainly isn't going to help the country. Maybe the politicians who are in power, sure, several of them have been known to take a liking to National Socialism, so polarisation fits in there perfectly. But the country is not going to be helped; neither the Russians, nor the Estonians. It sure as hell isn't going to make a single Russian Estonian adopt the opinion that Estonia has a right to exist.

A minor correction btw, haku. Tatu are not friends with the LDPR (which is officially the scariest party in Russian mainstream politics); Yulia is friends with a deputy who is a member of the LDPR (and a moderate one at that). That's quite a big difference. I have friends who are members of the Dutch laissez-faire liberal party. Please, please, don't think of me as a friend of the party though.
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Old 11-05-2007, 19:52   #242
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Originally Posted by Sunrider View Post
They are there, and they are not going to go away no matter how badly they are being treated (and they are being treated VERY badly). It's a reality Estonia had better come to terms with; polarising the two major ethnicities further certainly isn't going to help the country. Maybe the politicians who are in power, sure, several of them have been known to take a liking to National Socialism, so polarisation fits in there perfectly. But the country is not going to be helped; neither the Russians, nor the Estonians. It sure as hell isn't going to make a single Russian Estonian adopt the opinion that Estonia has a right to exist.
Can you elaborate your argument a little bit? How are Russians treated VERY badly in Estonia? How is National Socialism related to Estonian politicians? Why do you think that local Russians do not think that Estonia has a right to exist?
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Old 11-05-2007, 20:31   #243
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Can you elaborate your argument a little bit? How are Russians treated VERY badly in Estonia? How is National Socialism related to Estonian politicians? Why do you think that local Russians do not think that Estonia has a right to exist?

The Estonian government refuses to grant citizenship to a large portion of its Russian population (in fact, not only its Russian population falls victim to these policies; the same goes for Ukrainians, Germans etc., anyone whose forebears did not posses Estonian citizenship before the Soviet annexation). Only 35% of the Estonian Russian population (which itself is between a quarter and a third of the entire Estonian population) holds Estonian citizenship; about the same percentage holds no citizenship at all; the remaining Estonian Russians hold Russian citizenship, but this brings along major disadvantages when living in Estonia (basically, you have a whole lot less rights; for example, the only elections you can vote in are municipal elections). Also, discrimination against Russian Estonians is very common in everyday life in Estonia.

The European Union has, in the past, expressed its concern about this situation; but as usual, has not been to do anything about it.

As for the National Socialism thing; the previous Estonian government made headlines in 2002 when it removed a monument in Parnu honoring Estonian members of the Waffen SS; a move they made because they believed the momument would hinder the Estonian accession to the EU. However, the removal caused quite a stir, politically; the monument enjoyed quite some popularity, because it was very explicitly anti-Russian. What most Western sources failed to mention was that this momument was not first unveiled DURING world war II, but was actually supposed to be first unveiled hours before its removal in 2002. This was not a 60 year old monument Soviet authorities had forgotten about, it was a brand-spanking new monument honoring members of the Waffen SS.

The story does not end there; far from it. The momument was moved to Lihula, where it was finally unveiled in 2004; a number of MP's from different political parties were reported to be present at the unveiling. However, it once again attracted a lot of foreign criticism, and was removed under presssure of the United States, and the European Union. Russia complained too, but I doubt that helped. If anything, it would probably have been a reason to keep the monument where it had been standing up to that point.

Anyway, there's more still. After its second removal, the monument was moved again in 2005; this time to Lagedi, a village just outside Tallinn, where it got a new place near the Museum of Fight for Estonia's Freedom. Once again, several MP's were reported to be present at the unveiling, although it would not surprise me if they were the same ones that were present at the 2004 unveiling. Once again, the unveiling caused public outcry; particularly in Russia, and (quite understandably) Israel. However, the monument was not removed a third time; it's still there in Lagedi.

As for your third question; when I said Russians in Estonia do not think the country has a right to exist, it was part of an answer to haku's previous post, where he stated that this was the case. I do believe he is partly right about this; I think a large number of Russian youths in Estonia really do not believe the country has a right to exist. But in all honesty, the Estonian government has gone out of its way to worsen this feeling.


long post!

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Old 11-05-2007, 23:38   #244
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Originally Posted by Sunrider View Post
The Estonian government refuses to grant citizenship to a large portion of its Russian population (in fact, not only its Russian population falls victim to these policies; the same goes for Ukrainians, Germans etc., anyone whose forebears did not posses Estonian citizenship before the Soviet annexation). Only 35% of the Estonian Russian population (which itself is between a quarter and a third of the entire Estonian population) holds Estonian citizenship; about the same percentage holds no citizenship at all; the remaining Estonian Russians hold Russian citizenship, but this brings along major disadvantages when living in Estonia (basically, you have a whole lot less rights; for example, the only elections you can vote in are municipal elections).
Estonian government does not refuse to grant citizenship to the abovementioned group. The citizenship has to be applied for.

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Any alien can submit an application for the acquisition of Estonian citizenship, if he or she has settled in Estonia before July 1, 1990 and resides permanently in Estonia on the basis of a residence permit during the time of the submission of the relevant application or has stayed permanently in Estonia on the basis of a long-term residence permit for at least five years prior to the date on which he or she submits an application for Estonian citizenship.

An alien who wishes to acquire Estonian citizenship has to:
be at least 15 years of age;
have general knowledge of Estonian needed in everyday life;
have knowledge of the Constitution of the Republic of Estonia and the Citizenship Act;
have a permanent legal income, which ensures his or her own subsistence and that of his or her dependants;
be loyal to the Estonian state;
take an oath: "Taotledes Eesti kodakondsust, tõotan olla ustav Eesti põhiseaduslikule korrale" [In applying for Estonian citizenship, I swear to be loyal to the constitutional order of Estonia.]
In order for an adult to acquire Estonian citizenship he or she has to pass an exam on his/her knowledge of the official language and an exam on his/her knowledge of the Constitution and the Citizenship Act of the Republic of Estonia.

Source: http://www.mig.ee/eng/citizenship/citizenship/
So, basically for getting Estonian citizenship one has to live in Estonia at least for five years, be loyal to Estonian state, have permanent legal income and to know basic Estonian. These terms are not very difficult to follow.

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Also, discrimination against Russian Estonians is very common in everyday life in Estonia.
Estonian Russians are not discriminated.

As for the Lihula monument - it was moved by the Estonian authorities and is now in the museum. The fact that some Estonian men fought against Soviet army with Germans, is part of our history. However, these men fought in a separatate division and their ideology was neither Nacional Socialism nor fascism, but they fought for their own country - Estonia. The goal was to resist Soviet troops and establish independent Estonia - like Finland managed to do. There is another thread - General discussion about Russia - where haku and simon are thoroughly and objectively explaining Estonia's history.

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Originally Posted by Sunrider View Post
I think a large number of Russian youths in Estonia really do not believe the country has a right to exist.
It's a very sad statement to be heard. Estonia is a souvereign independent country, member of NATO and EU. Our state exists and is steady.

Last edited by Linda16; 12-05-2007 at 00:01.
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Old 12-05-2007, 09:58   #245
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Originally Posted by Linda16 View Post
Estonian government does not refuse to grant citizenship to the abovementioned group. The citizenship has to be applied for.

So, basically for getting Estonian citizenship one has to live in Estonia at least for five years, be loyal to Estonian state, have permanent legal income and to know basic Estonian. These terms are not very difficult to follow.

Estonian Russians are not discriminated.
Many of these Russians have been living in Estonia for several generations now; yet they are unable to obtain Estonian citizenship. Like I said, 35% of them currently posses no citizenship of any nation at all. Explain to me what the problem is then. Do you really think not automatically granting citizenship to normal Estonian Russian families who have been living in Estonia for generations after the Estonian independence was the humane thing to do? I think it isn't. They've become victims of the situation.

Russians are not discriminated? Russians have difficulty getting jobs, loans etc. As for my personal experience, I met with little but hostility from Estonians when I was in Tallinn with my (Russian) ex-fiancée (to meet her relatives). Speaking Russian got us a whole lot of dirty looks. I think denying the problem is not going to help the situation your country is in. A lot of people feel they're being treated rather badly. They feel alienated. They felt so years ago, and I imagine it's not gotten much better since the Estonian government removed the Bronze Soldier. And I must say I get the impression, from what I've seen there myself, that they are right.

Now of course people are always going to use different ways to react to a situation like this; some people use violent, others become overachievers, etc. People who belong to the group/class that is in control are usually going to pretend the problem either does not exist, or they're going to blame it on some cultural or ethnic defect (a la, those Russians, they're all violent and lazy). This reaction is a human defect I guess. It's the same in pretty much every country.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda16 View Post
As for the Lihula monument - it was moved by the Estonian authorities and is now in the museum. The fact that some Estonian men fought against Soviet army with Germans, is part of our history. However, these men fought in a separatate division and their ideology was neither Nacional Socialism nor fascism, but they fought for their own country - Estonia. The goal was to resist Soviet troops and establish independent Estonia - like Finland managed to do. There is another thread - General discussion about Russia - where haku and simon are thoroughly and objectively explaining Estonia's history.

It's a very sad statement to be heard. Estonia is a souvereign independent country, member of NATO and EU. Our state exists and is steady.
Objectively explaining the history of a country is impossible. Study history and it's the first thing you will learn. History is a discussion with an end. Only dictatorships establish "objective" histories that consist of "truths".

The monument, which is not IN the museum, but near it, and was removed twice, under international pressure, because the Estonian government did not get the message the first time, depicts an estonian in an SS uniiform, pointing his gun towards Russia. It's an aggressive message of hatred towards Russia and of admiration for the Nazi regime. Surely whoever created it could have come up with something better than a soldier in an SS uniform pointing his gun to Russia. If it had been erected in 1941, it probably would have been a lot less disgusting. But erecting a monument heroically portraying an SS-soldier, 60 years after the fact, after all those horrible crimes of the Nazi regime have become known to everybody, it's just wrong, and it tells a lot about the perception of history of those who have endorsed this monument.

And being member of the EU and NATO has absolutely nothing to do with having a right to exist, does it? It's certainly not going to change the minds of those Russian Estonians your government has alienated. I agree with you on one thing; it's a sad situation.
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Old 12-05-2007, 16:22   #246
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Many of these Russians have been living in Estonia for several generations now; yet they are unable to obtain Estonian citizenship.
Yeah, but what does it say about people who've been living somewhere for a few generations and don't even have a basic command of the local language? Any child who is born somewhere from non-native parents should grow up perfectly bilingual, the only way it could not happen is if parents purposely isolated the child from the local culture, which doesn't show a great respect for the locals, does it?
It's a typical colonial attitude, the same attitude that European colonists had in Africa where they rarely spoke the local languages while naturally expecting the locals to speak European languages (and it's not a stretched comparison, Estonians are among the rare people in Europe who do not speak an Indo-European language, they speak an Uralic language, and Russians have always regarded Uralic speakers like Europeans regarded Africans in colonial times).
Like i've already mentioned, Russia is 17 million km2, 4 times the size of the EU, this should easily be big enough for all Russians to live happily without taking even more lands to their small neighbors.


************
More EU-Russia troubles brewing…

Russia clinches gas pipeline deal

Russia, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan have agreed to build a new natural gas pipeline north from the Caspian Sea.

Russia's President Vladimir Putin announced the deal at a summit with Central Asian leaders in Turkmenistan.

The agreement ensures Russia's access to Turkmenistan's gas, and is a setback to rival US and European Union plans.

They had hoped to pipe Turkmen gas across the Caspian sea via Turkey, in order to reduce the EU's dependence on Russian-controlled energy.

Following two days of negotiations the presidents of the three countries, meeting in the Turkmen port city of Turkmenbashi, announced they would sign a treaty on the planned pipeline by September.

President Putin said the deal would mean increased energy supplies to Europe.

'Huge blow'

The new pipeline will carry gas from Turkmenistan, one of the world's largest sources of gas, through Kazakhstan to Russia.

"We will reconstruct the Caspian shore gas pipeline with a capacity of 10 billion cubic metres (per year) and build a parallel gas pipeline." Mr Putin said.

The deal represents a victory for Russia, which buys Turkmen gas at below-market prices.

The BBC's Natalia Antelava says the agreement is a huge blow to Washington, Brussels and Beijing, who have all been vying for direct access to Turkmenistan's gas.

They have lobbied strongly for a route under the Caspian Sea to Azerbaijan and Turkey, bypassing Russia.

Turkmenistan's massive gas reserves are effectively controlled by Moscow, since it relies on Russian energy giant Gazprom's Soviet-era pipelines for distribution.

For two decades, the isolationist policy of Turkmenistan's late leader Saparmurat Niyazov made additional access impossible.

But his death last year opened a window of opportunity and it was hoped that new President Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov would give the go-ahead to a trans-Caspian pipeline that would ease Europe's dependence on Kremlin-controlled energy.

BBC


It's a huge blow for the EU, we're going to have to completely rethink our choice of energy sources so we don't depend at all on Russia in the future.
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Old 12-05-2007, 19:47   #247
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Sunrider, I'm continuing this discussion not in the hope that I will change your world view, but for the sake of others who may read this thread.

I'm saying that Estonia is an open, fast developing normal democratic state.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunrider View Post
Many of these Russians have been living in Estonia for several generations now; yet they are unable to obtain Estonian citizenship. Like I said, 35% of them currently posses no citizenship of any nation at all. Explain to me what the problem is then. Do you really think not automatically granting citizenship to normal Estonian Russian families who have been living in Estonia for generations after the Estonian independence was the humane thing to do? I think it isn't. They've become victims of the situation.

Russians are not discriminated? Russians have difficulty getting jobs, loans etc.
As haku already mentioned, it's not difficult to know Estonian at least on the minimum level. Most of countries are requiring that a person applying for the citizenship is able to communicate in the language of the country. I have been in Norway and African and Vietnamise immigrants spoke fluently Norwegian, not questioning the fact at all. So, I do not understand, why it is so difficult to make a small effort for obtaining the citizenship. For instance, when I come to France and want to apply for French citizenship, it's elementary that I have to understand French.

Today in Estonia, we do not suffer from unemployment, but we are suffering from the lack of labour force. Everyone, who really wants to work has no difficulty to find a job. Companies are competing with each other for getting workers. The only sectors where Russians not speaking Estonian have difficulties in getting jobs is government sector and service industries - because in these jobs they have to communicate in Estonian. But again, can you imagine a French government officer not understanding French?

And as for the loans - several Russians are much more wealthy that Estonians. Whoever has a decent income, can get a loan today in Estonia.

I have lived here in Estonia for all my life. I do not know what you mean by the "dirty looks" you received when you spoke Russian. In the centre of Tallinn you hear people speaking Russian, Finnish, English, Swedish, Estonian, German. Everyone is accustomed to it.

I repeat, Estonia is a democratic and open-minded liberal country.
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Old 14-05-2007, 09:13   #248
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I have been in Norway and African and Vietnamise immigrants spoke fluently Norwegian, not questioning the fact at all.
Indeed. Everyone immigrating to Norway and want to live in Norway must take a Norwegian class.
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Old 14-05-2007, 18:13   #249
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Malta and Cyprus to get green light for 2008 switch to euro

Two Mediterranean islands - Malta and Cyprus - are expected to get a green light for joining the 13-strong eurozone next January, with both the European Commission and European Central Bank likely to give a positive evaluation this Wednesday (16 May).

"Malta has sufficiently converged towards EU levels according to the criteria set in the EU treaty to adopt the euro on January 1, 2008," writes a draft commission report seen by the Times of Malta, suggesting the same applies for Cyprus.

The positive verdict on the candidates readying to enter the currency union is foreseen following last week's report by the EU executive, which stated that the economic criteria in both countries are within the eurozone's limits.

According to the commission's spring forecast, Cyprus (777,000 inhabitants) will record inflation of 1.3 percent and Malta (400,000 inhabitants) of 1.4 percent which is below the required threshold. Both countries' budgetary deficits are also below the 3 percent limit.

The 2006 public debt figure of 63.5 percent of GDP in Cyprus is higher than the EU's 60 percent limit but it is on a downward path and set to pose no problem. Similarly, Malta had a debt of 66.5 percent of GDP last year with a clear tendency to fall further.

Malta's large public debt figure has resulted from its government's efforts to cut public deficit, with only Hungary recording similar debt levels while other countries from central and eastern Europe average around 25 percent.

But according to analysts, the public debt rule has not been previously strictly applied in the cases of Italy, Belgium and Greece and is not expected to become an obstacle for the Mediterranean duo.

Malta and Cyprus will follow Slovenia, which in January became the first new EU state to join the currency club. Slovakia and some of the Baltic states could be next in 2009, with the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary likely to follow only after 2010.

EU Observer


This is great news, congratulations to Malta and Cyprus.
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Old 15-05-2007, 18:11   #250
Станко394 Станко394 is offline
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Originally Posted by haku View Post
Malta and Cyprus will follow Slovenia, which in January became the first new EU state to join the currency club. Slovakia and some of the Baltic states could be next in 2009, with the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary likely to follow only after 2010.

EU Observer


This is great news, congratulations to Malta and Cyprus.
Isn't Hungary's valute euro?! Omg
Montenegro already has Euro, eventhough it's not in EU xD
I hope soon Serbia will become candidate soon...
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Old 15-05-2007, 18:24   #251
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Isn't Hungary's valute euro?!
Not yet, here's a map of the EU monetary situation, the eurozone is in blue.


************
And here's something which is going to make all EU citizens very happy…

The prices of interstate mobile phone calls should drop sharply before this summer under the pressure of the EU commission and parliament.

More details in this BBC article
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Old 15-05-2007, 18:37   #252
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^^ Now that's cool.

OMG, albanians have gone that far so now on Kosovo valute is Euro!?! I didn't know that too!
*Suprising*
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Old 16-05-2007, 20:45   #253
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As expected, the EU commission has given today the green light for Cyprus and Malta to adopt the euro on 1 january 2008.

Official press releases for Cyprus and Malta.

People in the eurozone, keep an eye for the Cypriot and Maltese euro coins, they should be relatively rare:

Cypriot euro coins
Maltese euro coins

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Old 17-05-2007, 12:05   #254
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I must say after living with Euro for 5 months how that prices of services has gone up ridiculously. I mean wtf... one euro is approx. 240 ex slovne tolars. I've never witnessed a cup of coffee costing more than 200 tolars before (200 would be expensive already). While now everybody's "rounding up" their prices to AT LEAST 1 Euro. If not more (record I've seen so far: 2,2 euros for a cup of coffee with milk, though granted that was at the seaside).

Otherwise things are pretty okay on the macroeconomic level. Euro didn't have a significant effect on inflation. The only thing I'm bothered with is the psychological effect. When you were holdign a 1000 tolar bank note is actually seem like quite a bit of money... you didn't spend it calously by no means... these days ... 2 two euro coins get spent so easily ... you don't even notice they're gone...
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Old 21-05-2007, 16:11   #255
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As expected, the EU-Russia summit which took place this weekend was glacial, and it wasn't the weather.

Poland triumphant after icy EU-Russia summit

Polish politicians and analysts are celebrating EU solidarity after Berlin and Brussels took Warsaw's line at the EU-Russia summit on Friday. But the meeting irked Russian president Vladimir Putin, damaging further the prospects of a new EU-Russia treaty.

"This is a great success for Polish diplomacy, in terms of Russian relations we got what we wanted," the chairman of Poland's ruling Law and Justice party, Marek Kuchcinski, said, Gazeta Wyborcza reports. "Our critics should finally admit this."

Analyst Andrzej Maciejewski of the Sobieski Institute in Warsaw said the EU "taught [Russia] a lesson." Rafal Trzaskowski of the European school in Natolin said the EU showed "it can speak with one voice, that solidarity is not an empty word."

The reactions - yet to be matched at top Polish government level - come after Germany's Angela Merkel and European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso gave backing to Polish, Estonian and Lithuanian concerns at last week's meeting in Samara.

"The problem of Polish meat is a European problem," Ms Merkel said. "I'm concerned about some people having problems in travelling here," she added, on reports that opposition leaders were prevented from attending a small-scale anti-Putin demonstration in the town.

"Poland's problem is a pan-European problem. Just as Lithuanian or Estonian problems are problems for all of Europe," Mr Barroso stated. "The European Union is based on the principle of solidarity."

Publicly, Mr Barroso said "We are very supportive of the process by which Russia becomes a WTO member." But privately, the EU also delivered the message there are "major impediments" to EU approval of Russia's WTO bid.

The toughening line comes after 18 months of Polish frustration over a Russian ban on food imports. Lithuania has been fuming for 11 months about Russia's shut-down of an oil pipeline, while accusing Moscow of political games to divide the union of 27 western and post-Communist states.

It also comes in the context of Russian attacks against Estonia after Tallinn removed a Soviet-era statue. The row has seen cyber-attacks on Estonian websites, riots by ethnic Russians in Tallinn and a siege on Estonia's embassy in Moscow.

Putin visibly irked
According to the BBC, a visibly irked Mr Putin at the post-summit press conference hit back at his guests, saying "We often hear about the need for solidarity. Are there any limits to solidarity? Are there any questions that should be decided internally?"

The Russian president blamed Poland for the ongoing meat ban, adding "since our Polish colleagues have not been on speaking terms with us for over a year...Thank God, there is the German chancellor representing their interests."

He also accused Estonian police of letting an ethnic Russian protester die following a stabbing in the Soviet statue riots in Tallinn. "They killed one demonstrator. We demand that the criminals be brought to account," Mr Putin said.

And he rebuffed Ms Merkel's concerns about curbs on opposition figures. "Any action must stay within the limits of current legislation," the Russian president said. "Police and law enforcement agencies in Europe also take preventive measures."

In the post-summit fallout, Russian economy minister German Gref warned there will be no EU-Russia treaty before the EU's WTO approval, Ria Novosti writes. "After entry into the WTO we'll conclude a new treaty," he said, hoping that remaining obstacles could be resolved in "a few weeks."

No joint declaration
The Samara gathering ended without a joint declaration by the two sides, as was traditional in the past. But the leaders did agree on a number of minor points to save the meeting from being remembered only for its frosty rhetoric.

From 1 June 2007 Europeans and Russians are to benefit from a simplified visa regime. The two sides plan to "consider" pooling work on their Glosnass and Galileo satellite projects and to set up an early warning system on energy supply shocks.

Meanwhile, regular talks will continue at lower official level. German agriculture minister Horst Seehofer on Sunday held out hopes of solving the Polish meat ban in the near future. "Poland already agrees with a phased solution," he said, according to AFP.

EU Observer
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Old 25-05-2007, 16:34   #256
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EU border agency starts sea patrols

The EU's border control agency – Frontex - is for the first time launching its own network of sea patrols to combat illegal immigration, saying its focus will be on the Spanish Canary Islands which alone saw at least 30,000 immigrants arriving by sea last year.

The creation of the European Patrols Network, a move decided by EU member states in December 2006 to reinforce the bloc's immigration policy, is the first attempt to jointly implement a system of monitoring the sea borders of the 27-member Union.

"Daily patrolling operations of neighbouring states [to the EU] will be planned and executed in a synchronised way," Ilkka Laitinen, the head of the Warsaw-based agency said, according to Reuters.

He did not say how many patrols would be launched, but indicated the Canaries would be one of the priorities. The agency has previously helped organise joint EU patrols in the region.

Malta and Italy are facing similar problems with illegal immigrants arriving by sea from Africa – a dangerous trip that has claimed thousands of lives according to NGOs.

The patrols will be coordinated and implemented by the different countries with Frontex. "This will allow avoiding overlapping of patrols and the effective sharing of operational information," it said in a statement.

Patrols launched by Portugal and Spain will coordinate activities south of the Iberian peninsula, while Italy will work with Slovenia in the north Adriatic Sea, and with France in the northern Mediterranean.

"There is a huge task to accomplish to bring the national authorities together," said Mr Laitinen, according to AFP.

The EU has to better coordinate its efforts against illegal immigration, as organised crime rings are becoming more and more sophisticated and methodical in the way they smuggle people into Europe, the border agency said.

"Bigger cargo vessels, designed deliberately to transport illegal immigrants overseas, may use the route, which has become global," Mr Laitinen said.

The EU also decided last month to launch a rapidly deployable force of about 450 border guards to help states such as Spain cope with sudden influxes of illegal migrants. It should be fully operational by the end of the year.

EU Observer

More details on the official website of the EU external border agency.

This is a very important step in European integration, it has taken a long time to establish a central EU external border agency, longer than to completely abolish internal borders.
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Old 28-05-2007, 20:55   #257
freddie freddie is offline
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Okay... don't get me wrong... I know borders are necessary in modern society, but still. There's something just so innately devious about a rich region of the world trying to shield itself from all the poor of this world. Objectively speaking it just shows the grim reality of human spirit.
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Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.
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Old 08-06-2007, 14:59   #258
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Bringing Europeans together at high speed: the first section of the East European High-Speed Line opens to passengers

On 10 June 2007 the first 300 kilometre stretch of the East European High-Speed Line will open taking passengers from Paris to Baudrecourt in Lorraine at a speed of 320 km/h.


"The opening to passengers of this first section of the 1 500 km European railway line intended to link Paris and Bratislava by 2015 marks an important date in European railway history," said Jacques Barrot, Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for transport, welcoming this news. "This new railway line, the fastest in the world, is a tangible sign of the progress that European integration can make to people's everyday lives. Its long-awaited opening will enable more people to travel and boost trade across borders".

"The entry into service of the first section of the East European High-Speed Line, which received funding of ?241 million from the European Union, shows that the construction of this trans-European corridor is on the right track", added Péter Balázs, European project coordinator. "The four Member States concerned must step up their efforts to start work on new sections of the East European line as this will maximise the benefit of its construction in years to come," he continued.

The East European High-Speed Line, the first interoperable line between France and Germany, uses technological progress to eliminate national frontiers. Fitted with the latest generation of the harmonised train control system, the line can be used by both German Inter City Express trains and French TGVs (high-speed trains).

11 million passengers a year are expected to use the line, which will considerably reduce journey times. This high-speed railway line now links France, Germany, Switzerland and Luxembourg: the journey time between Frankfurt and Paris is now just 3 h 45 min (down from 6 h 15 min).

EU official website
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