VAT may go up to 19 pct

The coalition is considering raising taxes and plans to increase VAT to 19 pct from 18 pct.

Estonian Employers’ Confederation is critical about the idea, aripaev.ee writes. 

Raising taxes in the current situation would increase prices and put pressure on salaries. This again would damage economic growth, employment and decrease companies’ competitiveness.

According to the Estonian Employers’ Confederation, raising VAT only generates inflation.

Source: BBN

Estonian shipper Tallink posts 9.6 pct annual rise in passengers for May

Ships of the listed Estonian shipper Tallink Grupp carried 591,400 passengers during May, which marks a 9.6 percent increase over the same month a year ago.
The biggest rise was recorded on the Tallinn-Helsinki route where the number of passengers grew 26.8 percent, aided by the full-month operation of Tallink’s two new Shuttle vessels, Star and Superstar, Tallink told the stock exchange.
The number of passengers travelling between the Estonian and Finnish capitals was 267,278.
In the third quarter of the financial year, 1.627 million passengers travelled on the ships of Tallink, which is 4.2 percent more than in the same quarter a year ago. The number of cargo units declined 10.8 percent to 84,761.
Source: Estonian Review

Participation Web Brings New Level of Political Participation

From now on, the ideas and proposals of citizens to the government are expected via the participation web at the address www.osale.ee. The participation web will continue the traditions of the current citizen’s portal Täna Otsustan Mina (Today, I Decide) or TOM.
The Minister for Regional Affairs Siim-Valmar Kiisler opened an idea contest in the participation web, where everyone can make suggestions to the state for simplifying public services.
“I am very glad that I can open the idea contest, when talking about the participation web. It will tie together two very important topics for the future of Estonia’s citizen initiative and development of the e-state,” said Kiisler.
The participation web provides several opportunities for having a say in the state matters. First, everyone can express their ideas on any issues that need fixing in Estonia. It is possible to vote and comment on the idea in the web and after that, the Ministry will disclose its official viewpoint as well.
Second, the drafts being processed by the government can be accessed in the participation web. The Ministry will publish the drafts for public discussion and interested people can express their opinions. Finally, all opinions that have been received will be analysed and an official will provide feedback.
Considering the great international interest towards the Estonian experience in e-elections, a freeware platform has been established, which could be used outside Estonia as well. The software allows for public discussions to be held on public issues. “We have created an e-product that has been established by analysing the experience with TOM. We added upgrades to increase user-friendliness,” said Liia Hänni, Programme Manager of the eGovernance Academy.
The software was created by the e-Governance Academy in cooperation with the State Chancellery. Product development was funded by the European Union.
Through the portal TOM, which has been operating since 2001, more than 7000 users have presented their ideas to the government and discussed various topics concerning Estonian society.
The first part of the participation web was opened in July 2007. In ten months, 18 public consultations on several drafts have been held. The topics range from the general principles of the Estonian European Union policy to the Forestry Act. Every consultation is read 3000 times on average.

Source: Estonian Review

Heads of Baltic Sea States Believe in Region’s Competitiveness

At the Baltic Business Forum in Riga, the 11 heads of the governments of the Baltic Sea States confirmed that the success of the region depends on the cooperation of the countries. Prime Minister Andrus Ansip stressed the importance of competitive economy and environmental safety and the need to invest in people and knowledge.
When talking about the future prospects of the Baltic Sea region, the Estonian Prime Minister found that the region must become one of the most technologically developed regions in the world.
In the current situation, according to Andrus Ansip, the uniform development of the Baltic Sea States is hindered by deficient infrastructure in certain locations. The Prime Minister mainly referred to the isolation of the electricity market of the Baltic States. “The creation of an integrated and open electricity market, together with a playing field for those who are interested in buying and selling electricity, would definitely boost the development of our region,” he noted.
Andrus Ansip stated that several energy cooperation projects are already under discussion. He stressed that these must be launched before the countries find separate and less efficient solutions for covering their electricity needs.
In parallel with energy issues, the Prime Minister thinks greater attention must be paid to the environment as well, which in the context of the Baltic Sea mainly means marine safety. Ansip noted that deficient infrastructure and safety measures may provide a short-term solution, but in the long run pose the risk of permanently damaging the Baltic Sea.
In conclusion, the Prime Minister stated that the Baltic Sea region should not attempt to compete with regions that rely on low-cost labour. “I believe the key to our success lies in investing into people and knowledge,” Ansip said. He noted that in order to remain competitive in the globalising economy, the region needs a flexible labour force with good qualifications. “Our goal would be to establish a favourable environment for open-minded, innovative and qualified people”.

Source: Estonian Review