Estonia votes for EU entry

Sunday's referendum on Estonia's entry into the European Union drew 552,330 voters (63.4% of those eligible).

As Rosbalt has learned from the Estonian Election Commission, 369,611 voted (66.92%) in favor and 182,719 voted against (33.08%). As Mikhel Pilving, the secretary of the commission, pointed out, the results will remain unofficial until all complaints are reviewed over the next three days.

About midnight Sunday here, a press conference about the referendum results was held at the Estonian Foreign Ministry by Estonian President Arnold Ruutel, Prime Minister Juhan Parts and Speaker of the Estonian parliament Ene Ergma.

Ruutel called the decision of the Estonian people to join the European Union one of the most important in the nation's history. In taking the decision, he said, 'The people affirmed themselves as bearers of the supreme power of the country.' Then Prime Minister Parts declared that Tallinn had labored hard on the way to joining the European Union but that much work remained. Ergma added, 'The legislative branch of Estonia is prepared to become the parliament of a European Union country next May.' When asked how the government of Estonia would now relate to those who remain skeptical of the tie to Europe, Parts said the government would continue its cooperation with them. 'That is the next step in our labors,' he concluded.

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