Books on Estonia
Update No: 292 - (26/04/05)
Estonian President Arnold Ruutel formally approved the
country's new government on April 12th, three weeks after the previous ruling
The president's action followed a parliamentary vote confirming Andrus Ansip and
his coalition government. The 48-year-old Mr. Ansip was the minister of
economics and communications minister in the previous government.
The new coalition brings together Mr. Ansip's Reform Party, the Centre Party and
the People's Union.
Government Number Eleven Imminent
The government of Estonian Prime Minister Juhan Parts collapsed in late March.
The Parts government stepped down on March 24th after parliament voted no
confidence in Justice Minister Ken-Marti Vaher.
Parts announced the dissolution of his coalition government - the 10th to lead
the country since independence from the Soviet Union in 1991 - after some
coalition lawmakers sided with the opposition in the no-confidence vote against
Justice Minister Vaher. Vaher had come under fire for his proposal to draw up a
system of annual quotas for the number of corruption cases to be handled by
The next general elections in Estonia are scheduled for March 2007.
The 'garlic' coalition
The three parties, the Reform Party, Centre Party and People's Union, now in
government launched negotiations on April 4th to establish a new ruling
The future coalition is known among Estonians as 'garlic' because the parties'
leaders held their preliminary consultations in the Baltazar restaurant which
specializes in dishes with garlic.
Candidate for prime minister Andrus Ansip told journalists that "the three
parties have announced their intention to draft a coalition treaty...The parties
have reached an agreement on their defense, foreign and security policy,"
New Estonian Cabinet begins work
Addressing the new Cabinet, President Ruutel said he was pleased that the
coalition agreement accentuated the Estonian people first and foremost.
"When I met with Mr. Ansip a dozen days ago, we agreed about valuing the
Estonian people as an urgent and complex task," the president was quoted as
saying by the presidential press service. "Now you have set as your
programmatic objective to be more caring to children and the elderly, encourage
the enterprising and support those who need help."
The government unites a right-wing force, the Reform Party, with two centre-left
factions, the Centre Party and the People's Union. Despite criticism that their
agreement represents an unlikely combination, the parties contain many
experienced politicians who have worked with each other in past coalitions, both
national and municipal. Still, overcoming the parties' varying platforms may
prove to be Ansip's biggest challenge.
The head of state stressed that the new Cabinet had to restore people's trust
and their belief in benign politics. "May the decisions of the government
be consistent and balanced so that they strengthen the bond of generations and
look to the future," Ruutel said. "While planning measures to support
families, the business environment and nature protection, we must also solve
today's problems and not lose sight of our long-range goals."
Parliament confirmed the government in a vote on April 12th. Fifty-three MPs
supported the Cabinet, while 40 voted against. The legislature has 101 seats.
Before the vote, Ansip told MPs, "I'm standing here before you as a
candidate head of government who sees his task in restoring working peace in the
executive branch for the state and the nation to be able to move forward in
their day-to-day work and development without a hitch."
According to the Reformist leader, his goal is to carry on valuable initiatives
of the previous government and come up with new initiatives whose common
denominator is a compassionate, objective social sphere.
Ansip dismissed doubts about the new governing alliance's compatibility and
ability to cooperate. As he sees it, liberalism, which his Reform Party
embodies, and the social aspect are mutually exclusive only for a limited
KLM and FlyNordic spread wings to Tallinn
New airlines are expected to provide tough competition FOR Estonian national
airline, Estonian Air, Baltic Business News reported.
As for Estonia's national carrier, service on the Tallinn-Milan route began on
March 30th. The airlines will launch a new flight for Manchester on May 10th.
Estonian Air stopped flights between Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, and
Gothenburg on March 2nd because of the airport's increasing flight traffic.
With the launch of two airlines, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and FlyNordic, the
burden on the airport infrastructure will increase. These two airlines opened
new routes for Tallinn-Amsterdam, Tallinn-Stockholm and Tallinn-Copenhagen on
March 28th. With the start of its 2005 summer schedule, KLM will initiate daily
round-trip service between Amsterdam and Tallinn. The flight will use a KLM city
hopper Fokker 70 in a load sharing cooperation with Air France. The Estonian
airline will have to employ many more employees for administration of the
FlyNordic, a subsidiary of Finnair, will fly six times a week and KLM seven
times a week. Estonian Air is already managing with 18 flights a week to
Copenhagen, 13 to Stockholm and 3 to Amsterdam. KLM's new service was opened in
Tallinn Airport by Dutch Ambassador, Koanna M. van Vlient, Estonian Ambassador
at Amsterdam Priit Pallum and the head of KLM's North European operations, Harm
Kreulen. KLM offers more than 650 destinations through its partnership with Air
France and SkyTeam. Tallinn is KLM's third destination in the Baltic States.
Since May 31st, 2004, KLM opened its twice-a-day route to Riga and has a load
sharing agreement with Lithuanian Airlines in Vilnius.
Elisa rings up 75% profit rise, targets faster market growth
Estonian telecommunications company, Elisa, a subsidiary of the Finland's
Elisa OY, rang up a 75% rise in profit for mobile telephone operations in 2004
to 202m kroons (12.9m Euro), New Europe reported.
"The results of the mobile communication operations of Elisa have been
excellent because we have clearly positioned ourselves as a quality
operator," Elisa CEO, Sami Seppanen said in a statement. "Elisa aims
to grow faster than the market, which we managed to do very well last
year," Seppanen said. Mobile subscriber numbers also climbed 34% to
225,500. Seppanen estimated Elisa's market share in Estonia's mobile phone
market to be about 21-23% in terms of turnover. "Profitable growth is our
strategic goal this year, too," he said. Sales by Elisa's fixed network,
the former Uninet, grew 12% year-on-year to 180m kroons.