Books on Estonia
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
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
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
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.
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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