Truck Queues at Estonia’s Eastern Border Disappear

Queues of vehicles waiting to be cleared for entry into Russia that persisted at Estonia’s eastern border for the whole year have vanished after the Christmas holidays and no trucks were queued up at any of the three checkpoints before New Year’s Eve.

According to Estonian Tax and Customs Board, the reason for the disappearance of the waiting queues has to be sought in licenses the Russian side issues to truckers. Truckers have probably run out of licenses toward the end of the year. Furthermore, Russia is at the end of the week entering a long holiday during which nothing much happens, and therefore carriers don’t have as much interest in Russia-bound traffic.

As recently as on Christmas Eve there were 150 trucks lined up in Narva, 65 at Koidula and 89 at Luhamaa. The outgoing year’s longest queues were recorded early in July, when 450 vehicles at once were waiting to cross the border in Narva and drivers had to wait up to five days.

Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Estonia Productivity Growth Fastest in the EU

In the years 1996-2005 Estonia saw a higher growth rate in productivity than any other current member of the European Union, it appears from the recently published Commission report on economic and social cohesion.

Real gross domestic product (GDP) per employee grew at a rate of nearly 8 percent per year in Estonia during the period from 1996-2005, figures by Eurostat show.

Next came Latvia and Lithuania with growth rates of more than 6 percent. The average growth rate for Poland was nearly five percent.

Spain and Italy meanwhile showed almost no increase in productivity in the past decade. The growth rate for Germany was a mere one percent per year.

Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Estonian living environment benefited from more than half a billion kroons in Euro support in 2007

The European Union’s Cohesion Fund funded 517 million kroons of Estonian environmental conservation projects in 2007, with an additional 38.2 million kroons of support coming from the European Regional Development Fund. 700 million kroons was also provided for such projects by the Environmental Investment Centre.

“This year has been a successful one for the Estonian living environment,” said Minister of the Environment Jaanus Tamkivi. “A number of significant water and sewerage structures have been completed, and waste treatment reviewed.”

The need for large-scale investment in the Estonian living environment has arisen from the obligations the country took on in joining the European Union to fulfil the conditions of the drinking water directive, the urban waste water directive and the landfill directive. “But what we have to strive for first and foremost is ensuring that drinking water that meets all of the requirements is available to as large a number of the population as possible, and that waste water is treated and doesn’t pollute the environment,” the minister added. “That’s why we have launched so many projects designed to improve the quality of drinking water and construct collection systems and treatment centres for waste water.”

Tens of kilometres of water and sewerage pipeline have been constructed and renovated this year as part of water projects, as well as treatment plants, pumping stations and more. An example is the Rapla and Kehtna municipality water and sewerage structures launched at the end of May as part of the Cohesion Fund project at a total cost of 88.6 million kroons. 50 million kroons of this amount was funded through the Cohesion Fund, with the remaining 38.6 million kroons funded by the state and local governments. 10 kilometres of water pipeline and 24 kilometres of waste water pipeline with new pumping stations were completed.

The expansion and renovation project of the Tartu water and sewerage network came to a successful completion in June. The total cost of the project amounted to 361.7 million kroons, with the Cohesion Fund covering 70% of design and construction work. 20.6 kilometres of water pipeline were constructed and 36.8 kilometres renovated along with roughly the same amount of sewerage pipeline. Connection contracts for the public sewerage network have already been signed with 770 property owners. The completion of the Tartu tunnel sewer in January (with 68 million kroons of funding from the Cohesion Fund) has significantly improved the supply of high-quality drinking water to the residents of the city, and reduced the pollution burden by at least 95%, ensuring that waste water is not discharged into the Emajõgi River.

Management of refuse has also been successfully reviewed and streamlined this year. For example, the Pääsküla waste centre – one of the biggest polluters in greater Tallinn – was closed at a cost of 173 million kroons, of which the Cohesion Fund covered 75%. A new waste centre was opened in the village of Kiltsi in Ridala municipality in Lääne in March at a cost of 7.2 million kroons – 90% of which was funded by the Environmental Investment Centre and 10% by local governments. The Põltsamaa regional waste centre launched operations in June, at a total cost of 7.4 million kroons. 6.6 million kroons of this amount was financed through the Environmental Investment Centre, with the remaining funding coming from local governments. County

One of the most successful initiatives of the European Regional Development Fund in Estonia was also related to refuse management – the fund provided 400,000 kroons in financing for the Abruka waste treatment project.

Island

It has been with the assistance of the Environmental Investment Centre that restoration has been completed on the Piusa caves, home to the biggest wintering colonies of bats in northern Europe. The caves had to be closed in March 2006 prior to the start of the tourist season due to the threat of collapse, but they were reopened at the end of November this year. The Environmental Investment Centre allocated more than 3.7 million kroons in funding to the State Nature Conservation Centre for the restoration work.

The environmental projects that have been completed in 2007 are reducing air pollution (gas from refuse and landfill) and pollution of the environment from effluent. Improved environmental conditions (such as high-quality drinking water) reduce health risks.

The European Union is set to continue helping the Estonian environment. 24.7 billion kroons of support has been provided for the development of the living environment between 2007 and 2013, with 11.5 billion directly going to environmental and nature conservation.

Source: Estonian Ministry of the Environment

Monthly Survey of the Estonian Economy

As of December 12, 2007

News compiled by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

http://web-static.vm.ee/static/failid/464/Economy_December2007.pdf

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