Country Profile: Estonia

Estonia is Located in North-East Europe, the Northern most of the Baltic countries.

ESTONIA: full name Republic of Estonia

Demographics:

  • Population: 1.34 million (UN, 2010)
  • Capital: Tallinn
  • Size: 45,227 sq km (17,462 sq miles)
  • Government type: Parliamentary democracy.  The current Estonian Government is a majority government and the coalition consists of two political parties: the Reform Party (a centre-right, free market liberal party) and Pro Patria and Res Publica Union (Liberal Conservative political party).
  • Major languages: Estonian, Russian
  • Ethnic groups: Estonians 68.8%, Russians 25.5%, Ukrainians 2.1%, Belarusians 1.2%, Finns 0.8%, other 1.6%.
  • Major religion: Christianity
  • Main exports: Engineering, electronics, machinery, wood and wood products, and textiles.

 

Culture, traditions, what it’s known for:

  • Estonian culture, along with the language, is the main vehicle of Estonian identity, hence the respect which Estonians feel for it. A large number of cultural institutions such as theatres, museums and libraries are financed by the state
  • The Estonian language is closely related to Finnish but not to the languages of either of the other Baltic republics, Latvia and Lithuania, or to Russian. The country has unique traditions in folk song and verse, traditions which have had to be strong to survive the many centuries of domination by foreign countries.
  • Estonia is an e-country with a favorable business climate and cost advantages that are also open to growth. They pursued the development of the e-state and e-government. Skype is an Estonian invention. Estonia was also the first country in world to hold electronic elections. USA is supporting Estonia as it’s center’s for newly planned NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence.

 

History of crisis

  • Estonia enjoyed an investment boom following EU accession, but in 2008 its economy was badly hit by the global financial crisis and the country’s economy shrank 14.3 percent.
  • To get the economy back faster, Estonian center-right government adopted tough austerity measures. Salaries had been lowered and taxes had been raised for everybody, making the gap between the rich and the poor even more important than it already was.  But  in 2010 the country’s economy started its recovery and grew by 2.3 percent and ahead of entry to the European single currency in January 2011.
  • This politics of austerity is still available, and it explains why the country remained one of the poorest country of the eurozone despite having one of the world’s fastest growing economies and one of the strongest among new EU states. In 2011, the country has seen a growth of 8% of its GDP. And in 2012, this growth should be of amount 4%. Though, the unemployment rate in Estonia was last reported at 11.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011.
  • Estonian average salary is less than Greek minimum salary. According to Statistics Estonia in 2010, 17.5% of the Estonian population lived in relative poverty. The country also has one of the highest per capita income levels in Eastern Europe.

    Estonia has the lowest debt in the EU. © Statistics Estonia

  • Booming exports and fiscal conservatism have been vital in improving Estonia’s overall economic health.  The general government debt declined to 6 percent of the GDP at the end of 2011 from 6.7 percent in the previous year and it is the lowest debt among the 27 European Union member states.
  • Rapidly adjusting labour markets have also played a key role, pushing the Baltic minnow ahead of all other euro zone members both in resilience and fiscal sustainability.

About Wyatt McCall