Over half of the Estonians support transition to the euro

Of Estonian residents 54% support transition to the euro, five percentage points more than in October, it appears from the euro monitoring poll ordered by the Estonian Finance Ministry and the State Chancellery.
In November 36% of the respondents did not support the transition to the common currency and 10% were not able to state their point of view. In October 40% of the residents were not in favour of the introduction of the euro. Compared with the previous poll support has increased more than the average among women and the oldest group of residents, the Finance Ministry said.
The residents’ information about the euro has also increased – this could be seen from both the respondents’ self-assessment as well as knowledge of the facts of the practical transition to the euro. In the November survey 89% of those interviewed believed that they were well or sufficiently informed about the changeover to the euro, while 13% found that additional information was necessary. In October the corresponding figures were 84 and 21%.
According to Kalev Petti, the person in charge of the poll, the circumstance that the people had received more concrete and practical news instead of general information had contributed to the increased support for the European currency.

Source: Estonian Review

Public broadcaster makes archives accessible via Internet

Audiovisual heritage held in the archives of the Estonian Public Broadcasting Company, ERR, can be accessed over the internet starting Friday, 19 November.
The materials can be accessed via the web page arhiiv.err.ee, spokespeople for ERR said. Web-based access to the audio and video archives has been created on the initiative of ERR in order to make digital audiovisual cultural heritage accessible to everyone free of charge. Right now the material that can be accessed consists of television and radio broadcasts.
ERR is ready to start negotiations with all major content producers, television and radio stations and film archives who are interested in preserving and publishing their audiovisual material in the digital archives of ERR. Cooperation toward this end is already under way with the Estonian Film Information System (EFIS) being created by the non-profit organisation Eesti Filmi Andmebaas (Estonian Film Database).
The ERR archives can be accessed over the internet both anonymously and after identification. Anonymous users can access content that ERR is free to release to all parties.

Source: Estonian Review

Older women are facing greater risk of poverty

According to Statistics Estonia, in 2008 the at-risk-of-poverty rate of older women was over two times higher than that of older men. 41% of women aged 65 and older and 19% of men of the same age lived in relative poverty.

These are the facts set out in the newly published collection ”Sotsiaaltrendid. 5. Social Trends” that analyses ageing of the population and its impact on the society.

In 2008, almost every fifth person in Estonia lived below the at-risk-of-poverty threshold. Among people aged 65 and older more than a third were in relative poverty. Thus, compared to other population in Estonia, older people were much more prone to experience problems related to economic difficulties.

Females, in particular, tend to end up in economic difficulties due to their longer life expectancy. If slightly more than a fourth of the women aged 55–64 live alone, then already more than a half of the women aged 75 or older are living alone. Similarly, the share of men living alone also increases at older age, but this increase is still relatively moderate compared to that of women. Only 28% of men aged 75 and over are living alone.

At old age, the income of one person is not sufficient to avoid poverty. 71% of persons aged over 64 and living alone were in poverty. The risk of falling into poverty is much lower among elderly couples compared to other households. Only 3% of the couples, where both partners were older than 64 years, lived in relative poverty in 2008.

Bigger income does not automatically ensure greater subjectively perceived welfare. Compared to other households, the single elderly people consider their coping capacity to be the worst. One in every five elderly persons living alone made ends meet only through difficulties, and two in every five claimed to cope with some difficulties. Their assessment of their coping capacity is comparable with that of single parents, who made ends meet only slightly better. A couple aged over 64, whose at-risk-of-poverty rate was the lowest, did not deem their economic situation to be the best of all. 40% of such couples coped with some difficulties or with difficulties, whereas only 5% of the couples said they cope with no trouble. Couples with one or two children as well as people under 65, who live either alone or with a partner, deemed the economic coping capacity of their household to be better compared to the afore-mentioned group.

At-risk-of-poverty rate is the share of persons with an equalised yearly disposable income lower than the at-risk-of-poverty threshold. At-risk-of-poverty threshold is 60% of the median equalised yearly disposable income of household members. Equalised disposable income is the total household income, which is divided by the sum of equivalence scales of all household members.

The publication ”Sotsiaaltrendid. 5. Social Trends” (http://www.stat.ee/38018) focuses on population aged over 50 and presents an overview of their situation on the labour market, coping and health, also providing comparison of Estonia with other EU Member States.

Source: Statistics Estonia

Central bank identified companies that mishandled new euro coins

Eesti Pank has identified two companies that had received 60 large euro coin starter kits with a total value of 11,880 euro in the course of sub-frontloading, but were unable to show any of them to Eesti Pank during the check carried out on Tuesday.

So far a very small number of companies has received sets of Estonian euro coins and sub-frontloading has been done by SEB Pank only.

According to preliminary investigation info, ten kits of new euro coins were offered for sale at the gathering of numismatists in Riga on 14 November.

On Tuesday, Eesti Pank checked four companies that had received coin starter kits. Two of them were able to present all the sets they had got, whereas two enterprises were unable to present any coin kits.

Frontloading contracts that Eesti Pank has signed with commercial banks state that the euro cash commercial banks receive must be deposited separately from other cash and in conditions that prevent theft, loss or damage. In addition, the contracts prescribe that the euro cash frontloaded to commercial banks will be sub-frontloaded to retail companies, cash handlers or other companies entitled to receive euro cash in advance.

Contracts concluded between Eesti Pank and commercial banks also state that sub-frontloading contracts commercial banks sign with companies must prescribe that the euro cash companies receive must be deposited separately from other cash and in conditions that prevent theft, loss or damage.

A very important condition of both frontloading and sub-frontloading contracts is that the euro cash received must not be released into circulation before the €-day.

Eesti Pank’s authorised persons must be allowed access to commercial banks’ and companies’ euro cash deopsitories to check whether the storage and depositing conditions are followed. In case of breach of contract by commercial banks or companies, contractual penalties will apply.

Eesti Pank intends to treat the cases of euro cash mishandling very strictly.

Eesti Pank has been carrying out random checks of commercal banks and enterprises that have received euro cash and continues to do so. So far there have been no problems with depositing conditions and the amounts of cash distributed are still there.

The coins that were offered for sale in Riga are no longer on sale.

The producer of Estonia’s euro coins is Mint of Finland, where a cash theft was uncovered this autumn. The company has officially stated that no Estonian euro coins were taken.

An additional check carried out at Eesti Pank confirmed that all euro coins are accounted for and comply with documents. The cash handler G4S performed an internal check and confirmed that the euro coins Eesti Pank has given to the company for handling are accounted for and comply with documents.

Background info
Euro cash frontloading means the central bank distributes euro cash to commercial banks and sub-frontloading means commercial banks distribute euro cash to companies. Both cases include contracts and cash is given out against security, that is, bought out.

The euro coin sets intended for companies reach them as follows: the central bank hands euro cash over to the cash handler G4S, who prepares starter kits for enterprises. Then G4S transports the kits to commercial banks that have signed contracts with the central bank. Commercial banks, in turn, distribute the sets to companies that have concluded sub-frontloading contracts with commercial banks. The large starter kit contains coins in the value of 198 euro and the small kit in the value of 111 euro.

The distribution of euro cash prior to the €-day is necessary to ensure a smooth changeover to the euro. Frontloading makes sure banks will be ready to exchange kroons for euro and sub-frontloading allows companies to return change in euro. Other countries that have adopted the euro have used the same system.

Source: Bank of Estonia