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Last Updated: Monday, 15 September, 2003, 13:22 GMT 14:22 UK
Estonian media split on EU future
Estonian President Arnold Ruutel
President Ruutel led voters to the Yes result

Estonian papers wonder who will benefit from the country's entry into the EU, approved in Sunday's referendum.

Estonian radio says that despite the vote, many people held the belief that "nothing will change for me".

A commentary in Estonia's largest circulation paper, SL Ohtuleht, thinks that on balance, "Estonians have made the right decision".

But headlines elsewhere in the paper proclaim "Only businessmen and politicians will benefit" and "The rich will continue to be wealthy. Nothing will change!"

The Russian-language Molodezh Estonii suggests that Estonians were less than euphoric about voting.

Our contribution is likely to give support to the Latvians, because who would want to remain the only black sheep in the flock
Eesti Paevaleht
"Tallinn on Sunday evening reminded one more of 1 January than 31 December. There were no parties," it says.

An editorial in Postimees seeks to rally the nation.

"Now that the choice has been made, all of us, whatever generation we belong to, must think and act in a way so that our self-determined EU membership will not just remain a formality, but will serve Estonia's dignity," the editorial says.

Challenge

Postimees also believes that EU membership throws down a challenge to Estonia, "to forge a kind patriotism which puts the individual at its centre. This is the kind of independence we will now have to learn."

Eesti Paevaleht believes Estonia's decision will have repercussions beyond the country's borders.

"Our contribution is likely to give support to the Latvians, because who would want to remain the only black sheep in the flock," it argues.

The most important thing for us is not to assume the mentality of a receiver who expects someone else to sustain him
Prime Minister Juhan Parts quoted in Postimees
Quoted by Eesti Paevaleht, the former president, Lennart Meri, says Estonia is keen not to relive the past, when it was at the mercy of larger states, like the Soviet Union.

"Estonia wants to be small, stubborn, if necessary, and proud," Mr Meri argues.

And Prime Minister Juhan Parts, quoted in Postimees, seeks to reassure Estonians his government's aim is "to move forward in such a way that each individual wins in the EU.

"The most important thing for us is to not become comfortable, not assume the mentality of a receiver who expects someone else to sustain him," he says.

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.




SEE ALSO:
Estonia expects EU 'Yes' vote
14 Sep 03  |  Europe
Poland says big Yes to EU
09 Jun 03  |  Europe
Polish press basks in 'yes' vote
09 Jun 03  |  Europe
Slovaks say 'Yes' to EU
18 May 03  |  Europe
EU welcomes Lithuania vote
12 May 03  |  Europe
Slovenia votes for EU and Nato
24 Mar 03  |  Europe


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