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Key Economic Data 
  2003 2002 2001 Ranking(2003)
Millions of US $ 8,383 6,413 5,500 95
GNI per capita
 US $ 3,870 4,130 3,870 72
Ranking is given out of 208 nations - (data from the World Bank)

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ethnic groups 
Estonians 63.9%
Russians 29%
Ukrainians 2.7%



Arnold Rüütel

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 coalition collapsed.
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 regional prosecutors. 
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 coalition. 
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," Ansip said.

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 imagination.

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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 airport.
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.

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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.

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