Estonians among most fluent in foreign languages

Estonia is one of the European Union member states having the largest percentage of residents speaking at least two foreign languages, it appears from a report by the EU statistical office Eurostat.
Of Estonian residents of ages 25-64, 55.9% said they spoke two or more foreign languages. By this criterion Estonia ranks fifth among EU nations.
One foreign language is spoken by 30.4% of residents in Estonia while 13.6% speak no second language, shows the study published on the occasion of the European Day of Languages celebrated on 26 September.
The table of self-perceived language knowledge of adults was topped by Slovenia, where 71.8% of residents said they spoke at least two foreign languages, followed by Slovakia with 68%, Finland with 67.9% and Lithuania with 66.1%. Latvia was in sixth place after Estonia with 54.9%.
According to the survey, English is the most commonly spoken foreign language in two-thirds of EU member states. Russian is the most widespread foreign language in the three Baltic countries, Poland and Bulgaria. Of these countries, Lithuania has the highest ratio of speakers of Russian as foreign language.
In the UK the most commonly spoken second language is French, and in Slovakia, the Czech language.
The poorest command of foreign languages was reported in Hungary – three in four Hungarians said they spoke no foreign language at all. The percentage of such people was 51 in Portugal, 47 in Spain, 44 in Bulgaria and 43 in Greece. The survey was based on data for 2007.

Source: Estonian Review

Liviko beverage maker to launch export to Japan

The Estonian AS Liviko alcoholic beverage maker is going to start exporting its products to Japan.
Export of Liviko’s products to the Japanese market became possible thanks to a new weak beverages line, which makes it possible to follow a complicated production technology that differs from European requirements and meets those of Japanese laws and health protection authorities, the company said.
The company has been making preparations for the export of its output to Japan since 2006 by carrying out market research and working out products and tastes acceptable to the Japanese market.
Last year AS Liviko exported three million liters of alcoholic beverages, one quarter of its own output. Until the present, Liviko’s most important export markets were Latvia, Lithuania, Russia, Ukraine, Finland and the United States.
The first consignment of beverages will be dispatched to Japan on Thursday.
Liviko invested 20 million kroons (EUR 1.29 mln) in the new weak beverage production line.
Liviko provides jobs to 201 people in Estonia, 110 in Latvia and 76 in Lithuania.

Source: Estonian Review

Government endorses sale of holding in Eesti Telekom

The Estonian government Thursday decided to give its consent to the sale of shares in Eesti Telekom at 93 kroons (EUR 5.94) per share.
Eesti Telekom has also convened a general meeting of shareholders in order to decide the payment of additional dividends of nearly 7 kroons per share.
It is also planning to endorse for three years a dividend policy according to which Eesti Telekom will pay out in dividends in the years 2010-2012 the whole net profit over the preceding period, the government communications office said.
In considering its decision, it was decisive that the Estonian state had no strategic interest of continuing as shareholder in Eesti Telekom and in 2009 the state would be paid more than four billion kroons, which would contract the loan need of the country and improve the government sector budget balance by 518 million kroons.
It is also important for the state to ensure in the next few years a guaranteed inflow of income tax that will be enabled by the agreed-on guaranteed dividend policy.
The Estonian government currently has a 24% and the Estonian Development Fund a 3% holding in Eesti Telekom.

Source: Estonian Review