Eesti Telekom, Microsoft Estonia top the executive pay list

According to a pay survey made by Äripäev, the highest executive monthly pay in 2011 was in Eesti Telekom and Microsoft Estonia, which paid their executives in average 10,583 euros and 6,114 euros a month. The highest-earning executive in 2011 was Vladimir Volohhonski, founder of fertilizer terminal DBT who made over 70,000 euros a month.

Read more from BBN

Retail sales growth reflects improvement in consumer confidence

The growth in Estonian retail sales indicates a rise in consumer confidence and the weaker sales results at the beginning of the year might rather have been caused by the cold spring and high heating expenses, analysts believe.

The 7% increase in retail sales last month was the highest since September 2012, Swedbank analyst Tõnu Mertsina observed. Consumer confidence in general and in regard to personal financial situation has improved since last December, with a significant improvement recorded in March, Mertsina pointed out. “With the end of the heating period, the impact of higher electricity prices will decrease, which ought to leave consumers room for other outlays,” he said.

Slowdown of inflation together with the acceleration of real wage rise will also have a positive effect on consumption growth, he added.

Retail sales of goods by retail trade enterprises grew 7% at constant prices in March compared to the same month of the previous year, Statistics Estonia said on Tuesday. In January retail sales increased by 4% and in February by 2% year on year. The annual growth accelerated somewhat in March.

Source: Estonian Review

Estonian producer of building foams had a successful year

Sales of Wolf Group, an Estonian producer and exporter of building foams, sealants and breathing facade solutions, increased last year nearly 12% year-on-year to 91 million euros and operating profit grew to 8.3 million euros from the year-earlier five million euros. “The economic results were positively influenced by the growth of production efficiency, expansion of export to new countries, and the strengthening of positions on existing export markets,” the company said.

“The group’s result is highly satisfactory as it was in line with our expectations, plans and visions,” CEO Jaan Puusaag said. Sales increased the most last year on the Russian market, which remains the largest export market for the company, he said.

In addition to Russia, solid growth was recorded in Poland and the Baltic states as well as by the group’s Bulgarian and Romanian subsidiaries. In Latvia and Lithuania, for instance, sales grew by nearly 20%. In Puusaag’s words, clear signs of post-crisis recovery were observed on those markets last year.

Wolf Group continued strengthening its positions on the South American market, expanding in Argentina, Chile, Columbia and Peru. Other new countries in the group’s export portfolio are Macedonia, Kosovo and Belgium. The company sees great potential in Turkey.

Wolf Group brings together the sales and production enterprises of the manufacturer of construction chemicals and materials Krimelte both in Estonia and abroad. Factories of Wolf Group are located in Estonia and Russia, and sales units in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine, Romania, Bulgaria, Denmark and Kazakhstan. The company exports its products to nearly 50 countries.

Source: Estonian Review

Tallinn receives 328 cruise ship visits this year

The berthing of the cruise ship Astor in Tallinn’s Old City Harbour this week will officially kick off the summer cruise season with a total of 328 ship visits scheduled. On the busiest days of the summer season, which lasts until September, up to 9 000 cruise passengers a day are expected to arrive in Tallinn, the state-owned Port of Tallinn told BNS reporter.

“During the beginning of the summer cruise season one to six cruise boats will dock in Old City Harbour almost every day and in the middle of summer up to 9 000 cruise passengers will be visiting Tallinn on the busiest days,” head of the port company’s marketing and communications department Sirle Arro told BNS.

Ten cruise ships will call at Tallinn for the first time during the start of the season. The Spanish cruise operator Pullmantur will this year again organise five turnaround cruises with Tallinn as the starting and ending point of Baltic Sea cruises. “In addition to those, there will be a partial turnaround cruise of the German ship Deutschland with some of the passengers beginning and others ending the cruise in Tallinn,” Arro said.

The longest ship to put in at Tallinn this year is the 317-meter Celebrity Eclipse with more than 2 800 passengers on board, whereas the 311-meter Adventure of the Seas will bring the most tourists, over 3 000, to the Estonian capital.

The summer cruise season runs until 26 September but cruise tourists are also expected to arrive in Tallinn in October, November and December. All told, approximately 485 000 cruise passengers will visit Tallinn this year on board 328 ships, the highest number ever, Port of Tallinn said. Last year Port of Tallinn served 440 000 cruise tourists on board 294 ships.

Source: Estonian Review

Every third person in Estonia is married

According to the data of the 2011 Population and Housing Census (PHC 2011), the share of persons living in a consensual union has increased significantly and the share of people living with a legal spouse has decreased compared to the previous, 2000 Census.

In 2011, 34.5% of the  population aged 15 and older lived with a legal spouse and 15.6% lived in a  consensual union. Compared to the 2000 Population Census, the share of persons  living with a legal spouse decreased by 5.4 percentage points and the share of  persons living in a consensual union increased by 4.7 percentage points. 38% of  men aged 15 and older live with the legal spouse and 17.1% live in a consensual  union, the respective indicators for women are 31.7% and 14.3%. The share of  women living with the partner is smaller as the number of women in population  is smaller. 428 persons were cohabiting with same-sex partner (206 men and 222  women).

Of persons living  without a partner, the largest share make up those who have never been legally  married (25.4%). 9.8% of persons living without a partner are divorced and 9.6%  widowed. Compared to the previous Census, among persons aged 15 and older, the  share of people living without a partner has increased by 0.9 percentage  points. Among persons without a partner the share of women was larger (54.1%)  than that of men (44.9%).

90% of men and 80% of women aged 15–24 are  living without a partner. The time of starting cohabitation is between 25–34  years of age, in this age group almost half of men and nearly 61% of women live  with a partner. Cohabitation with a legal spouse is the most common marital  status among men and women aged 36–49. About 59% of women aged 50 and older  live without a partner, but 59% of men of the same age group live with a legal  spouse.

Persons aged 15 and older by marital status, 2000 and 2011
PHC2011 PHC2000
Persons aged 15 and older TOTAL 1 094 564 1 121 582
Living with a partner 548 286 570 030 with a legal spouse 378 026 447 584
..cohabiting 170 260 122 446
Living without a partner 546 278 549 373
..separated from a legal spouse 42 537 56 101
..never been legally married 277 689 269 466
..divorced 107 678 93 351
..widowed 105 428 114 055 marital status unknown 12 946 16 400

More detailed data can be found in the Statistical Database.

The schedule of publication of the results of PHC 2011  is available on the website

The eleventh Population  Census in Estonia was conducted from 31 December 2011 until 31 March 2012.  Previous censuses were carried out in 1881, 1897, 1922, 1934, 1941, 1959, 1970,  1979, 1989 and 2000. The next Population Census in Estonia will be conducted in  2020/2021.

Source: Statistics Estonia

29% of people in Estonia affiliated with religion

According to the data of the 2011 Population and Housing Census (PHC 2011), 320,872 persons or 29% of Estonian population aged 15 and older are affiliated with a particular religion. This percentage has not changed compared to the previous, 2000 Census.

During the period  between the censuses, the number religions in  Estonia has increased. In 2011, 90 religious affiliations were followed  by believers. At the same time 54% of the population aged 15 and older does not  feel an affiliation to any religion. Compared to the 2000 Census, the number of  persons who did not wish to answer the question in relation to religion has  increased, accounting for 14% in total. Relation to the religion is unknown in  case of nearly 2% of the population aged 15 and older.In the 2011  Population Census the most prevalent religion among the population aged 15 and  older was Orthodoxy (16% are affiliated with it) and Lutheranism (10% are  affiliated with it).Of Estonians aged 15  and older 19% are affiliated with a particular religion, of non-Estonians –  50%.

Different ethnic  nationalities living in Estonia follow their traditional religion. Among  Estonians Lutheranism is most prevalent, 14% of Estonians aged 15 and older are  affiliated with it. 27% of Finns, 15% of Germans and 14% of Latvians living in  Estonia consider themselves Lutherans.

51% of Byelorussians,  50% of Ukrainians, 47% of Russians and 41% of Armenians feel an affiliation to  Orthodoxy.

47% of Poles and 33%  of Lithuanians living in Estonia are Catholics. Islamic religion is most  widespread among Tatars.

In urban settlements of Estonia live three times  more believers than in rural settlements, the reason for it is first and  foremost related to the ethnic composition of the population.

More detailed data can be found in the Statistical Database.

Read more from Statistics Estonia

Museums are open long time and entrance is free on May 18 museum night

Museum Night “People in the night”

Time: May 18
Location: different museums in Tallinn and Estonia
Web site:

Once a year, on a Saturday evening in May, museums stay open almost till midnight and offer free admission to mark pan-European Museum Night.
Museum Night has a different motto each year, and this year’s is ‘People in the night”.

Programs in Estonian: http://www.muuseumiöö.ee/programmid

Government’s focus is on the environmental protection

Last week the government approved Estonia’s proposals regarding the country’s share in the European Union’s budget for the new budgetary period, which call for spending close to 100 million euros for environmental protection and 400 million euros for the environmental sphere altogether.

Compared with the current period, when the emphasis of the use of euro funds in the environmental sphere lay in water and waste- related investments, in the new period the focus will shift to environmental protection, which has been waiting for its turn for a long time, Environment Minister Keit Pentus-Rosimannus said.

In the years 2014-2020 the focus will be primarily on preservation and restoration of diversity. Valuable habitats that serve as home to animals, birds, plants and fungi  require care. Among other things, water regime of swamps needs to be restored and spawning possibilities for fish need to be improved through taking care of oxbow lakes and building fish passes at dams.

Another important part are investments to reduce the negative impact from human activity and heal the negative effects thereof.

One of the most resource intensive fields is reducing the environmental footprint of businesses and supporting sustainable use of resources, which would get 131 million euros under current plans. The sustainable energy sector will occupy a central place in the latter, including through support for the renovation of remote heating systems and the switch to local heating, support for upgrading the thermal insulation of apartment houses.

Money to be received from the sale of carbon emission credits is to be invested in the use of biogas in transport, the pilot projects in which will be financed with EU money.

The investments are still in the phase of proposals. The Estonian ministers are scheduled to present their proposals to the Riigikogu on 8 May and they must eventually be endorsed by the European Commission.

Source: Estonian Review

Estonian minister discussed a visa issue with Thai minister

At their meeting in Bangkok, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet and Foreign Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand Surapong Tovichakchaikul discussed opportunities to intensify political contacts and economic ties between Estonia and Thailand as well as tourism co-operation, including the topic of implementing a visa waiver for all Estonian citizens.

Paet said that Estonia would like for its citizens to have the opportunity to travel to Thailand without a visa, which would help to develop economic co-operation and tourism relations. “Thailand is a major destination for Estonian tourists, and a visa waiver would increase interest in the country even more,” Paet added. The Thai foreign minister said that he supports Paet’s proposal in principle.

Foreign Minister Paet said that the Thai foreign minister is welcome to visit Estonia and that economic ties would certainly be enlivened by visits by reciprocal business delegations. “We would also like to hold the first political consultations between our foreign ministries this year in Tallinn,” he added.

The agreements concluded between Estonia and Thailand last year for the avoidance of double taxation and for co-operation in culture and education are very important for promoting Estonia and Thailand’s economic and education co-operation. “There is ample room for growth in our economic co-operation. By concluding these agreements, we hoped to create favourable circumstances for business activity in Estonia and Thailand and facilitate contacts between people and student exchanges,” said Foreign Minister Paet.

They also spoke about co-operation in the logistics sector. The European Union and Russia are important trade partners for Thailand. Paet said that Estonia could be a gateway to the Nordic countries, the EU and Russia for Thai businesses, serving as a transport corridor and a logistics and distribution centre. “Estonia’s advantages are its geographical location, favourable business and investment climate, developed transportation connections, an accessible and high-quality workforce, and essentially waste-free ports,” he added.

Foreign ministers Urmas Paet and Surapong Tovichakchaikul agreed that Estonian and Thai businesses could have closer co-operation in the area of tourism. “Estonian tourists have discovered Thailand as a destination for holidays and we hope that Thai tourists’ interest in Estonia will grow. For example, Tallinn is a popular cruise stop on the Baltic Sea,” he added.

Paet also praised Estonia’s honorary consuls in Thailand, who have helped Estonian citizens resolve problems on many occasions. He added that hopefully Thailand will soon appoint an honorary consul in Estonia.

At their meeting they also addressed co-operation with the European Union and in the UN and reciprocally supporting one another’s candidacies. Estonia also supports starting negotiations for a free trade agreement between the European Union and Thailand.

In the context of human rights and freedoms, the ministers talked about co-operation in the UN Human Rights Council and cyber security and defence.

Source: Estonian Review

Minister gets threat calls

Estonian Minister of Economic Affairs Juhan Parts said yesterday at a press conference that he has received a tsunami of angry phone calls since his phone number was handed out at the most recent demonstration on Monday.

“There have been quite a lot of calls, to be frank,” Parts said at a government press conference yesterday.

“I have answered a few of them as well, but they were quite appalling and I don’t want to publicly disclose their content,” the minister said.

Read more from BBN