Estonia. When the year started, the government crisis prevailed. The three coalition parties of the Fatherland, the Moderates and the Reform Party had split into local politics in Tallinn, which had national consequences.
According to Countryaah website, national day of Estonia is every August 20. Prime Minister Mart Laar and the entire government resigned in January. The leader of the reform party Siim Kallas, who until then was the finance minister, was given the president’s mission to form a new government. The right-wing Reform Party then entered into a coalition with Parliament’s largest party, the Center Party, which is on the left in Estonian politics. However, the unlucky parties managed to hold the new government unexpectedly well together and continued the country’s quest for EU and NATO membership.
Center Party leader Edgar Savisaar did not join the government but remained as mayor of Tallinn. A new political party, Res Publica, received strong support in public opinion during the year. Res Publica addressed the problems of the Russian-speaking minority and one of the party’s demands was milder conditions for citizenship. Among other things, the party wanted to abolish the compulsory language test in Estonian and thus make it easier for the more than 170,000 Russian speakers who lack citizenship to get such.
At the local elections in October, Res Publica received 15% of the vote in the country. However, the Center Party and its leader Savisaar became the victors of the election with their own majority, among other things. in Tallinn and Narva.
At the NATO meeting in Prague in November, Estonia was invited as a member of the military alliance together with Latvia and Lithuania. Membership is valid from 2004. Russia, which has long opposed NATO’s enlargement to the Baltic, signaled to the Prague Summit that the Kremlin finally accepted the Baltic NATO accession. In the final negotiations for EU membership, Estonia was forced to give up its demand to maintain tax-free sales on the Baltic Sea ferries. The disappointment was also great over the agricultural production quotas offered by the EU, and into the latter Estonia negotiated increases.
At the EU summit in Copenhagen in December, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and seven other countries were accepted as new members of the Union from 2004 onwards.