Parliament Planning to Move Forward With Border Treaty (20)
Despite a dip in relations in the last few weeks, Estonian parliamentary forces are still planning to ratify the Estonian-Russian border treaty soon.
Imre Sooäär, a Reform Party MP, said the first reading of the bill is likely to take place before the summer break, Õhtuleht reported today.
Center Party MP Enn Eesmaa said the border treaty and the events in Ukraine events should be kept separate, while Karel Rüütli of the Social Democrats said the aim of a legal border has been the long-term goal of his party, adding that its ratification is in Estonia's interests.
The biggest political opposition to the treaty has come from outside Parliament, from the Conservative People's Party. Its top candidate at the European Parliament elections, Martin Helme, said Estonia has been demanding that other European nations take tough stands against Russia, but is unwilling to act itself.
IRL has shown mixed feelings, initially lending its backing to the ratification, but a few party MP's such as Juku-Kalle Raid, and the now former minister Helir-Valdor Seeder have spoken out against the treaty. Andres Herkel, who left the party last year to fund his own political force, has also criticized the plan.
The foreign ministers of the two nations signed the treaty on February 18. Estonia's government gave its approval on March 6, but it will have to be approved by the parliaments of both Estonia and Russia.