Estonian President slams Swiss for being sanctions holdout

President Toomas Hendrik Ilves says Switzerland, which refrained from joining most of the rest of Europe in applying punitive sanctions against Russia, has placed its own interests and banking sector ahead of European values.

“Switzerland will have to live with criticism that they have foregone establishing their own sanctions in order to gain a more favored situation in the banking sector,” Ilves told the Swiss newspaper Sonntagszeitung, published Sunday.

In contrast, he said, Sweden and Ireland have affirmed neutrality yet supported sanctions.

“For me, the idea of neutrality is even more devoid of meaning than ever before,” Ilves said.

Ilves would not say whether the EU planned to pressure Switzerland, uudised.err.ee reported. The Swiss currently are president of the OSCE; critics have seen the country as a haven and business center for wealthy Russians.

Source: ERR News

Government approves 600 mEUR transport reconstruction plan

The Cabinet approved on Thursday a number of transport-related projects, including tackling two traffic bottlenecks in Tallinn by 2017.

Two grandest projects are a road from the Russalka statue between Kadriorg and Pirita in Tallinn to the port, and the reconstruction of the Haabersti roundabout, Estonia’s most dangerous intersection for accidents.

Besides the two projects, which according to Economic Minister Urve Palo, would cut morning and evening traffic jams, the capital’s tram line will be extended to the airport.

Investments will be made into increasing railway line speeds to 120 kilometers per hour on passenger routes. Regional ports and ferries servicing islands will also get an injection.

The 600 million euro package of projects is, in essence, an action plan to use EU funds, and the basis for the creation of the next state budgets in the field of transportation.

Source: ERR News

The European Union Structural Funds 2014-2020

Since Estonia became a member of the European Union in 2004, thousands of projects all over Estonia have been implemented with the support allocated to the country. 

The aim of the supports and subsidies is to harmonise the development of all the member states and enhance the competitiveness as the European Union as an integrated economic area all over the world. In other words, the success of the member states contributes to the general success of the European Union.

Financing available from the Structural Funds or the European financing are allocated in Estonia via three funds: European Regional Development Fund, European Social Fund and Cohesion Fund. 

In 2014-2020 budget period, in total, 3.5 billion euros will be channelled to Estonia from the EU Structural Funds; the administrative area of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications will be responsible for the use of 1.3 billion euros, spent on transport, information society, economic development and energy sectors.

Source: Estonian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications

Government plans to nominate ex-PM as candidate for European commissioner

At May 29, 2014 Cabinet meeting, members approved Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas’s plan to nominate Estonia’s most popular politician as a candidate for European commissioner.

Andrus Ansip, just elected to the European Parliment with the largest number of votes received during Sunday’s election, told ETV that he was geared toward dealing with finances, energy and regional affairs – the fields where Estonia gets most of its EU funding – if he was selected for the executive post.

Read more from ERR

Enterprise Estonia may reclaim funding for Kultuurikatel

Estonian state-owned business support agency Enterprise Estonia suspects that Tallinn Creative Hub Kultuurikatel may have forged documentation in applying for renovation funding and has not entered into contracts which have stopped works with the project, writes Eesti Päevaleht.

Read more from BBN

Without EU membership, Estonia would be 20% poorer – survey

Estonia, Latvia and Poland are the three countries that have benefited most from accession to the EU, according to a new survey by economists Nauro Campos, Fabrizio Coricelli and Luigi Moretti.

The survey showed that Estonia’s real GDP per capita in a ten-year period between 1998 and 2008 was 20% higher than the comparison group of countries that did not join EU.

Read more in BBN

Estonia’s labor costs among the lowest in EU

Average labor costs in Estonia were 9 euros per person per hour in 2013, up from 8.4 euros in 2012, according to Statistics Estonia.

In member states of the European Union a more than tenfold difference was recorded in hourly labor costs last year, from 3.7 euros in Bulgaria to 40.1 euros in Sweden.

Read more from BBN

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