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ESTONIA

Key Economic Data 
 
  2002 2001 2000 Ranking(2002)
GDP
Millions of US $ 6,413 5,500 5,100 100
         
GNI per capita
 US $ 4,130 3,870 3,780 74
Ranking is given out of 208 nations - (data from the World Bank)

Books on Estonia

REPUBLICAN REFERENCE

Area (sq.km) 
45,227 

Population
1,408,556

Principal 
ethnic groups 
Estonians 63.9%
Russians 29%
Ukrainians 2.7%

Capital 
Tallinn

Currency 
Kroon

President 
Arnold Rüütel

  

Update No: 285 - (01/10/04)

Economic success story
The Estonians are doing well. They more than doubled their living standards over the last decade and a half since independence. GDP has grown consistently by five per cent annually in this period. It grew by 4.7% in 2003 and is growing by 5.5% in 2004.
The budget is only slightly in deficit, 0.5% of GDP. Inflation is low so that Estonia should be able to join Euroland shortly. 
It tax rates are low, its regulatory climate is not demanding and its people are welcoming to foreigners, so long as they are not lager louts. FDI per capita at $2, 362 is the highest in the region, with foreign firms appreciative of the civilised nature of the country and its traditions of self-help and hard work.

Comparison with the Swiss
A successful country has little history. How often is Switzerland in the news?
Estonia is not Switzerland of course. Its GDP per capita at $12,190 (in 2003) is a third of the Swiss level. There is a long way yet to go.
But the comparison is not so far-fetched. There is a lot in common between the two countries. Both were very early converts to Protestantism. Both are compact countries with a long a long tradition of Western values.
Switzerland of course has had s more fortunate history so far. But things are at last looking up for the Estonians. Within a generation or two they should become a prosperous Western nation and an example to their neighbours. 

No referendum on EU constitution
The Estonians see no need whatever for referendum on the new EU constitution. They had one on EU membership itself on September 14th last year. It was handsomely won.
Now members of the EU, and enthusiastically so, regard as quite otiose any new proof of their pro-EU zeal. Any such a referendum, if held, would have but one outcome. They are right. It is quite unnecessary.

A shadow hangs over the past all the same - Russia
Russia is concerned over the violation of rights of the Russian-speaking population in Estonia and Latvia, Sergei Yastrzhembsky, assistant to the Russian President, said on September 28th at the parliamentary hearings, devoted to the ratification of the Protocol on Cooperation between Russia and the European Union. 
According to Yastrzhembsky, Russia does not demand that EU grant some special rights to the Russian-speaking population in those countries. He said at present some 700,000 people have been registered in Latvia and Estonia, who are not citizens of those countries. "Those people should not fall victim to the policy of double standards. The Russian-speaking population and the citizens of Latvia and Estonia should not find themselves in different legal categories," Yastrzhembsky stressed. 
At the same time, he told EU representatives that Russia was ready for closer cooperation with Latvia and Estonia for the purpose of settling the problem. "We would like to see real positive signals indicating that the problem is being settled," he added.
That the Estonians do so would, indeed, be the best proof possible of their Western credentials.

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MANUFACTURING

Elcoteq expands Estonia plant

Elcoteq Network Corporation, global provider of electronics manufacturing services (EMS) for the communications technology industry, has announced the expansion of its second manufacturing plant, Tallinn 2, in Tallinn, Estonia. Between Tallinn 1 and Tallinn 2, Elcoteq will employ nearly 3,200 employees and maintain 42,000 square metres of factory space in Tallinn. It can be compared with the size of six football fields. 
The expansion was needed because of growth in demand for communications network equipment products and an increase in Elcoteq's business and customer portfolio. The total investment including the equipment and current assets was 40m Euro. "The expansion increases the production capacity of the whole Elcoteq Tallinn and therefore improves the competitiveness of our plant," explained Risto Gaggl, general manager of Elcoteq Tallinn. The official opening of the expanded facility took place on August 25th, 2004 with a ceremony presided over by Estonian Prime Minister, Juhan Parts and Antti Piippo, chairman of the Board and principal owner of Elcoteq Network Corporation. 

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TELECOMMUNICATIONS

Elion sees revenues dropping

Estonian fixed-telephone provider Elion said its interconnection revenues will fall by about 14m kroons (€0.9m) annually, the company announced recently, New Europe reported. 
The fall results in the request made by the Estonian National Communications Board in which the regulator demanded that Elion reduced its national interconnection prices. Initially the regulator demanded that Elion reduced its national interconnection prices on an average 20%. Elion presented an exception to the regulator that resulted the changing of the earlier precept. According to the new precept, Elion has to reduce its national interconnection prices on an average 17% starting from October 1st, 2004.

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