Estonia stopped translating the laws into Russian

The state of Estonia stopped translating the laws into Russian, pointing to lack of money, ERR News reports.

That means nearly 400,000 citizens do not have access to the laws, rights and obligations that regulate their daily life in their native language.

Translating the laws into Russian became non-existent after 2006, when the task was taken over by the Ministry of Justice. Before the task was done by Riigi Teataja Kirjastus.

The ministry translates Estonian legal acts to English and foreign agreements from English to Estonian.

The Ministry of Justice based the fact, that Russians can’t access the laws in their native language, on the lack of money.



The two largest banks in Estonia to downsize

Both Swedbank and SEB that control Estonian banking admit that they plan to lay off some of their employees in order to better survive the economic recession.

Kristi Künnapas, press spokesperson of Swedbank, told Eesti Päevaleht that there could be some layoffs since volumes in some banking segments have been falling. “We will make these decisions according to the changes in business volumes, but there will be no massive redundancy,” she said.

Priit Perens, head of Swedbank in Estonia, did not deny that the bank was considering laying off employees and said that by the end of the third quarter the workforce of Swedbank had fallen by 4 percent lower. “It is likely that it this trend will continue further,” he said.

In September Perens said that there would be no layoffs, but employees who were leaving would not be replaced.

“We are not planning extensive layoffs and we hope to continue that way in the future. In Estonia we have reacted to falling business volume by becoming more efficient. That means we won’t necessarily hire a new person to replace one who is leaving, and we are changing the duties of current staff,” he said in September.

Silver Vohu, press spokesperson of SEB, the second largest bank in Estonia, did not return calls of Eesti Päevaleht. However, according to information available to the newspaper, SEB has already made some of its employees redundant.

Source: BBN

Re-export of fuel boosted October exports in Estonia

 Although at first sight it is good news that Estonian exports in October were 13 percent higher than a year earlier, this is mainly because of growth in re-export of oil products.

Riina Kerner, analyst of Statistics Estonia, told Postimees that the volume of oil products that Estonia imports and then re-exports has gone up in recent months. “This is not re-export of oil in transit, but these oil products are processed in Estonia by adding substances to them and increasing their value,” she said.

Kerner said that although this was not the same as export of products made in Estonia, but it still benefits the economy because of added value. “Whether you like or not, but Estonia is a country that largely re-processes goods or adds value to them,” she said.

While earlier imported the majority of such oil from Russia, the key import market is now Belarus. These oil products are processed in Estonia and then shipped to US and other countries.

If you deduct 1.5 billion kroons that was the value of re-export of oil products in October from the total export amount, the remaining amount is about the same as a year ago.

Read more: BBN

Slovakia to adopt the euro on 1 January 2009

On 1 January 2009, Slovakia will join the euro area, becoming the 16th official member country to do so. The koruna, Slovakia’s national currency, will be in dual circulation with the euro until 16 January 2009.

As from 1 January 2009, the euro will become legal tender in Slovakia and starting from 17 January 2009, the euro will be the sole valid legal tender in the country. Slovak korunas are exchanged for euro at the rate 1 EUR = 30.1260 SKK.

Banks in Slovakia will use this rate to exchange the koruna banknotes until end-2009 and coins until the end of June 2009. The National Bank of Slovakia will exchange the Slovak koruna banknotes for euro without a term and coins until the end of 2013.

Eesti Pank will finish quoting the Slovak koruna on 1 January 2009. Most of Estonia’s commercial banks have ceased to trade with Slovak korunas in cash. Some currency exchange bureaus will continue to exchange Slovak korunas. More specific information can be obtained from the enterprises themselves.

Foe further information on the adoption of the euro in Slovakia, see the home page of the ECB and the home page of the National Bank of Slovakia.

Source: Bank of Estonia

Eesti Pank’s most important strategic objective is the adoption of the euro

Governor of Eesti Pank approved the central bank’s strategic development plan for 2009-2011 and the financial forecast and budget for 2009.

According to the strategic development plan, the primary monetary policy objective of Eesti Pank in 2009-2011 is to ensure the smooth functioning of the currency board and help Estonia move towards the adoption of the euro. In monitoring Estonia’s economy, the main focus will be on the risks related to inflation inertia and external uncertainty. Meanwhile, economic policy cooperation with the government will be aimed at finding ways to avoid possible setbacks arising from these threats.

“In respect to ensuring financial stability, the central bank’s most important goal is to further develop the safety net of the Estonian financial sector and pay special attention to the financial sector infrastructure. National crisis management capacity will be improved in cooperation with the Ministry of Finance and the Financial Supervision Authority and cross-border crisis management capacity in cooperation with Scandinavian central banks,” said Governor of Eesti Pank Andres Lipstok.

As regards joining the euro area, Eesti Pank’s main task is to reach the stage in preparation for the changeover to the euro where it can be completed within 12 months before the day the euro is launched. In addition, amendments to the management of foreign exchange reserves will be prepared in order to ensure optimum investment of assets once Estonia becomes full member of the Economic and Monetary Union. In addition, the strategy prescribes ensuring that cash management be ready for the changeover to euro cash.

“The adoption of the euro is the most important strategic objective of Eesti Pank, thus the central bank’s 2009 budget has also been prepared following this principle. The bank aims at providing central bank services cost-effectively. Therefore, due to the deteriorating economic environment, we have thoroughly reviewed the entire cost budget and planned such expenditure and investment that are either impossible or inexpedient to postpone, for instance, rebuilding the cash centre of Eesti Pank to bring it into compliance with the requirements for handling euro cash,” Lipstok said.

According to the next year’s budget, Eesti Pank expects income on financial operations related to the foreign exchange reserve to be 912 million kroons and the central bank’s 2009 profit to amount to 332 million kroons. The main operating expenses of Eesti Pank (production costs of banknotes and coins, personnel expenses, general administrative expenses, and depreciation of fixed assets) will be reduced by 12% on 2008, forming approximately 317 million kroons. The main operating expenses decrease mainly due to smaller costs of banknotes and coins production. In 2009, Eesti Pank plans to produce cash for 60 million kroons, which is 43% less than in 2008. The production cost of commemorative coins and banknotes will also drop by 4.3 million kroons in 2009. All the planned commemorative coin projects will be profitable for Eesti Pank.

Eesti Pank’s expenditure on wages and salaries is expected to remain at previous year’s level (124 million kroons in 2008) and the number of positions will not change, either.

General administrative costs will also remain at a level comparable to 2008, amounting to 95 million kroons. Such costs consist of expenditure on procurements necessary for Eesti Pank’s principal activity – information technology, working environment administration, training and business travel of employees, international and domestic communication and publications.

As regards fixed assets acquisition, the largest projects are the renovation of the Sakala 4 building (Financial Supervision Authority) and the design and building works to bring the cash centre into compliance with the security requirements of the Eurosystem.

The 2008 net operating surplus of Eesti Pank will be published in the central bank’s annual report in April 2009. Previous annual reports are available at:

The strategic development plan of Eesti Pank for 2009-2011 will be published at:

Eesti Pank’s financial forecast and budget for 2009    EEK
Net income on financial operations with the foreign exchange reserve   912,000,000
Net income on domestic financial operations    -288,000,000
Operating income 25,284,000
Operating expenses -317,005,000
Personnel expenses -124,742,000
Production of banknotes and coins -60,415,000
General administrative expenses -95,265,000
Depreciation of fixed assets -36,583,000
Profit 332,279,000

Source: Bank of Estonia