Bank of Estonia predicts slowing of inflation

The Bank of Estonia predicts that price growth will slow considerably in the second half of 2008, and the Finance Ministry judges that the peak of inflation is over by now.The monthly rise in prices was significantly slower in February in comparison with January’s 2.2 percent, economist of the central bank Martin Lindpere said.Consumer prices rose last month by 0.4 percent month-on-month and by 11.3 percent compared to February 2007.Inflationary pressures were reduced by the cooling of the economy, which is expressed in the rapid slowdown of growth in retail trade and industrial production. Wage growth is no longer as fast as at the end of last year, but the government should support further slowing more strongly through budget policies, the economist said.

The monthly price rise was the slowest in the last six months and the ministry sees gradual deceleration of inflation ahead.

Source: Estonian Review

Poland Highly Interested in Estonia’s Cyber Defence Activities

The Polish Minister of National Defence Bogdan Klich, who was in Tallinn on one-day visit, confirmed his keen interest in the development of bilateral defence co-operation to his Estonian colleague.

Issues related to air policing of the Baltic States, NATO’s collective missile defence, cyber security, European Union Battle Groups, and bilateral co-operation within the framework of the Baltic Defence College were discussed during the meeting with Jaak Aaviksoo.

According to Jaak Aaviksoo, Estonia and Poland have very close views regarding defence policy and have a rather common way of sensing the potential risks.

“We highly value, both from a political and defence-related point of view, Poland’s contribution to ensuring the air policing of the Baltic states. Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are to start joint discussions to achieve full airspace control as of 2018. It’s too early to mention any specific solutions but we do not exclude Poland’s future participation in the project,” said the Estonian Minister of Defence.

According to Bogdan Klich, the solution used for the purposes of air policing of the Baltic states within the NATO framework has established a strong bond between the countries, a bond that is worth developing. On the morning of 15th March, Poland officially took over the responsibility for ensuring the air policing of the Baltic states with four MiG-29 fighters from Norway.

As for the missile defence system, devised in Europe, Estonia sees having it developed according to NATO’s collective defence principles as an important issue. “Estonia sees the current development as positive and wants the future missile defence system to represent an essential part of the capability to protect all the NATO countries against possible threats,” Aaviksoo said.

At the meeting, the Estonian Minister of Defence provided an overview of the preparations made for the establishment of NATO Centre of Excellence on Cooperative Cyber Defence in Estonia and invited his Polish colleague to join the project.

According to the Polish Minister of Defence, they are very interested both in Estonia’s experiences with repelling cyber attacks and proposals regarding the development of the relevant capabilities of the armed forces.

When speaking about the European Union Battle Groups, both parties found that the battle groups represent an initiative important for the common security and defence policy of the EU. It was admitted that the principles for deploying these units need more explicit elaboration.

Poland’s participation in the Baltic Defence College serves as a good example of bilateral defence-related co-operation between Estonia and Poland. According to the feedback given by the Polish students who studied in the college, the level of education provided by the college is very high. The Minister of National Defence Klich proposed to develop the co-operation between the Baltic Defence College and the relevant educational establishment of Poland, and above all, the National Defence Academy of Poland.

Bogdan Klich’s programme for his visit to Estonia also involved a meeting with the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Parliament Mikser, and the Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Matti Maasikas.

Source: Estonian Review

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