Estonian Government sets up E-file System

The Estonian government established an e-file system that unites the crime-handling institutions such as the police, prosecution and court into a uniform information system.
The establishment of the system should secure constant access to information to all the bodies conducting proceedings, the governmental press service said.
The e-file system consists of a central database that contains information on files and customer systems that store and introduce changes in the information. Data from other databases are fed into the system through a cross-use mechanism.
In the first stage of the implementation of the system information can be obtained from the punishment, population, commercial and residence data registers. Future plans include data exchanges with the registers of execution proceedings and prisoners as well.

Source: Estonian Review

IKEA lays down conditions in Lithuania

The company IKEA seeks an opportunity to achieve a part of slabs and furniture produced by company „Girių bizonas“. Furthermore, negotiations for building „Vakarų medienos grupė“ in Alytus town are in process. IKEA is ready to invest if permanent wood supply is assured.
Read more: BBN


Price of beer in Tallinn Old Town bars reaches EEK 70 a glass

Bars and restaurants in central Tallinn sell beer for EEK 70 a glass or six times higher than what it costs in kegs. .. . This makes Tallinn one of the cities with the most expensive beer since a glass of beer in central Stockholm costs EEK 91 and in Helsinki EEK 75.

Read more: BBN

Australian travel website ranks Tallinn No. 1 in Eastern Europe

Australian travel website has named Tallinn the main tourism destination in Eastern Europe.  The Australian website asked users to provide their opinion about where they would like to travel most. Surprisingly, about a third of respondents said that they would like to visit Eastern Europe. According to Expedia, Tallinn deserves a visit because of its beautiful medieval city centre, churches and museums.

Funded Pensions Act was approved

The government approved the draft to change the Funded Pensions Act and forwarded it to the Parliament. The purpose of the draft is to turn the entire II pension pillar system more visible, to increase guarantees, and to loose out-dated limitations, writes

According to the Minister of Finance, Ivari Padar, changes are needed to modernise the system. “It’s certain that when the state changes Funded Pensions Act it will be according to the principles of pension reform. And in such an important matter as pensions system, developments in finance markets, technology, and society have to be mirrored,” said Padar.

A lot of the budget has been dedicated to simplify and modernise the out-payments system of the II pension pillar. The draft would also add a guarantee system, the purpose of which is to protect a person’s pension payments even if the insurer is facing problems.

The opportunity to start a funded pension will appear for 9000 people from the year 2009. The right to receive out-payments will appear when the person is in the age to receive state pension insurance.

The draft will also bring changes to the gathering phase of the II pension pillar and makes the work of funds more visible. In addition, the payment structure of pension funds will become simpler and changing funds will be more flexible, allowing the partial changing of units of a pension fund.

By the standings in the end of 2007, more than 565 000 people have joined II pension pillar, 78 pct of them have chosen a progressive fund type. The total value of II pension pillar fund is EEK 12.2 billions.

Source: BBN

Estonia is planning to raise accommodation services VAT from 5 pct to 18 pct

Estonian Hotel and Restaurant Association is aware of the plan the Ministry of Finance has to increase the accommodation services VAT from current 5 pct to 18 pct. The Association decries the plan from start.

“The Ministry of Finance is preparing for the budget of the coming year and one of the options that has been discussed, as far as I know, is increasing VAT,” the chairman of the board of Estonian Hotel and Restaurant Association and Nordic Hotels OÜ, Feliks Mägus, told, adding that nothing certain can be said about the subject just yet.

Mägus directly said that the results of it would be bad for Estonia’s tourism. He admitted that tourism isn’t currently doing as well as previously anyway. “That would just be an additional factor,” Mägus added with a quite glum and worried tone.

Read more: BBN

Bank report on the adoption of the EURO

With the “Report on the Adoption of the Euro” the Bank of Estonia wishes to share with the public the information at the disposal of Eesti Pank about Estonia’s readiness to change over to the single currency of the European Union – the euro – and also introduce the points of view of Eesti Pank. For this purpose, they started to publish a regular report on the adoption of the euro in 2007. This report is based on the assessments given by the European Central Bank and the European Commission in the Convergence Reports published in May 2008. 
The introduction of the euro at the first opportunity has been and will remain the priority of Estonia’s economic policy in the coming years.  

The changeover to the euro must be viewed as a natural development for Estonia, because the fundamentals of the Estonian economic policy are very similar to those of the euro area. Estonia is an EU Member State with a small open economy and a conservative fiscal policy. The principles of the currency board arrangement and the exchange rate of the Estonian kroon pegged to the euro, which will remain so until the adoption of the euro, form the basis of our monetary system. Estonia has been moving towards close integration into the euro area during the whole independence period. By joining the European Union Estonia also committed to adopting the euro. In 2006, the

technical preparations carried out by Eesti Pank, in cooperation with government authorities and the private sector, reached the stage where all the activities not directly related to the adoption date were completed.
The European Commission and the European Central Bank regularly assess whether the EU countries that do not belong to the euro area meet the requirements for the introduction of the euro – the Maastricht criteria. The most recent regular Convergence Reports on non-euro area Member States were published on May 7 this year. The assessment showed that Estonia meets all the criteria for the launch of the euro except the criterion of price stability.

For an open economy like Estonia, which is rapidly catching up to the standard of living in the euro area, a slightly higher inflation rate compared to the euro area is natural and does not pose a threat to price stability. However, the low inflation rate prescribed by the current interpretation of the price stability criterion for the adoption of the euro will not be an easy target for Estonia. According to the spring 2008 forecast of Eesti Pank, it is unlikely that Estonia would be able to meet the Maastricht inflation criterion in 2009. Thus, the adoption of the euro will be postponed at least to 2011. According to the forecast, the inflation rate will decrease close the criterion at the end of 2010. Apart from that, in order to integrate into the euro area Estonia has to carry on fulfilling the criteria established for fiscal policy, exchange rate stability and low interest rate.

The Report also includes an Annex with an article by Velimir Bole, who describes the experience and economic developments of Slovenia, the first CEE member of the euro area, during its first year as a full member of the euro area. Bole analyses the structure of Slovenia’s economic growth,  developments in the labour market and competitiveness, determinants of price growth as well as changes in the balance of payments. The article concludes with an assessment to Slovenia’s fiscal policy in the current period.

View the euro_report608
Source: Bank of Estonia