Finnish company is Estonia’s largest private forest owner

The Estonian arm of Tornator Oyj, the third largest wood production company in Finland, recently purchased 13,000 hectares of woodland in Estonia, making it the largest private forest owner in the country.

Tornator now owns over 40,000 hectares of land, although a pale shadow of the close to 600,000 hectares of woodland owned in Finland.

The company grows and manages forests selling the timber or timber rights to logging companies. It registered 1.5 million euros in sales last year.

Estonia is rich in forests – they cover almost half of the country’s territory. The largest forests can be found in the North East and Central Estonia and they stretch from the north coast to the Latvian border. About 10 per cent of Estonia is a nature reserve.

Source: ERR News

The Dwelling Price Index changed by 13.2 pct compared to last year

According to Statistics Estonia, in the 3rd quarter of 2014, the Dwelling Price Index changed by 4.1% compared to the 2nd quarter and by 13.2% compared to the 3rd quarter of 2013.

Compared to the previous quarter, the prices of apartments increased by 3.6% and the prices of houses by 5.4%.

Compared to the 3rd quarter of 2013, the prices of apartments have increased by 15.3% and the prices of houses by 7.9%. The prices of apartments increased in all three areas under observation: by 15.6% in Tallinn, by 12.8% in areas bordering Tallinn with Tartu and Pärnu cities and by 19.6% in the rest of Estonia.

Compared to the 2nd quarter, the price index of apartments increased by 4.7% in Tallinn, by 1.3% in areas bordering Tallinn with Tartu and Pärnu cities and by 2.7% in the rest of Estonia.

The Dwelling Price Index expresses the changes in the square metre prices of dwellings purchased by households. The Dwelling Price Indices have been compiled for apartments and houses (including detached, semi-detached and terraced houses).

In the 3rd quarter of 2014, the Owner-Occupied Housing Price Index changed by 9% compared to the 2nd quarter and by 13% compared to the 3rd quarter of 2013.

The Owner-Occupied Housing Price Index expresses the changes in the prices of the acquisition of dwellings new to the household sector and other goods and services that households purchase in their role as owner-occupiers. The index consists of four parts: acquisition of dwellings, other services related to the acquisition of dwellings, major repairs and maintenance, and insurance connected with dwellings.

The Owner-Occupied Housing Price Index is published on the base 2010 = 100. The time series starts from the first quarter of 2005; major repairs and maintenance are included from the first quarter of 2007 and insurance connected with dwellings is included from the first quarter of 2012. The annual index is calculated as the average of four quarters.

Source: Statistics Estonia

EIB provides 200 mEUR to support strategic investments in Estonia

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is establishing a new EUR 200 million loan facility for Estonia to support investments in research and innovation, sustainable transport infrastructure and the development of SMEs. The EIB loan will help Estonia to successfully absorb EU structural funds over the period 2014 – 2020.

“There’s no doubt that EU structural funds have already had a positive impact on the Estonian economy. We must continue to take advantage of these funds in the coming years” said Maris Lauri, the Finance Minister of Estonia, after signing the loan agreement with the EIB. She added: “Our aim is to take a long-term view and invest in building human capital and developing high value-added businesses. But these long-term investments require a lot of capital, even with the availability of EU funds, and that is why we value the on-going support of the EIB in providing long-term financing for projects that will improve Estonia’s competitiveness internationally, in turn creating more and better jobs.”

Pim van Ballekom, EIB Vice-President responsible for lending in Estonia, said: “With this support for key investments, the EIB is stepping up its efforts to strengthen the competitiveness of the Estonian economy and promote the effective use of the EU grant funds earmarked for Estonia. We are building on the excellent cooperation with the Estonian authorities and joining forces with the European Commission to support a large number of projects contributing to sustainable economic growth and a better quality of life for the people of Estonia.”

The EUR 200 million loan will be available as co-financing for selected projects under the Estonian operational programme for the Cohesion Policy Funds and the Rural Development Programme for 2014 – 2020. The EU structural funds will meet a fixed percentage of the costs of eligible projects, with the remaining part being covered from the State budget or by drawing on this EIB facility.  The loan will primarily support projects in the following sectors: research, technological development and innovation; transport, water and environmental protection; and infrastructure development in rural areas. The facility will furthermore focus on investments in education, and health-care, as well as improving training and access to employment. These investments will contribute to the further development of a knowledge-intensive and internationally competitive economy, a clean environment and sustainable transport infrastructure, which in turn will help to create the conditions for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.

This loan is a continuation of the sound partnership between the EIB and Estonia, with the Bank of the European Union having already lent EUR 550m under a similar EU funds co-financing facility covering the period from 2007 up to 2013. To obtain an EU grant for an eligible project, the government must provide the co-funding. While the co-funding will largely be provided from budget funds, the EIB facility will be available to supplement these funds and to ensure that Estonia uses as much of the available EU funding as it can.

Background information:

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the long-term lending institution of the European Union owned by its Member States. It makes long-term finance available for sound investment in order to contribute towards EU policy goals. In 2009-2013, the EIB provided loans in Estonia totalling EUR 1.37bn.

Source: Estonian Ministry of Finance

Over half of GDP is created in Harju County

According to the flash estimates of Statistics Estonia, Harju county accounted for 61.3% of the gross domestic product (GDP) of Estonia in 2013.

In 2013, the GDP of Estonia at current prices was 18.7 billion euros, of which the share of Harju county was 11.5 billion euros and that of Tallinn 9.3 billion Euros. Harju county was followed by Tartu and Ida-Viru counties, the shares of which in the GDP of Estonia were 10% and 7.6%, respectively.

Harju, Tartu and Ida-Viru counties gave a total of 84% of the value added in services and almost three-quarters of the value added in industry and construction.

The counties which contributed the least to the total GDP of Estonia were Hiiu, Lääne and Põlva. The total share of these counties in the GDP of Estonia accounted for 2.5%.

In 2013, 67% of the total value added of Estonia was created in services, 29% in industry and construction and 4% in agriculture, forestry and fishing.

The service sector was the biggest sector in all counties besides Ida-Viru county. The share of services was the largest in Harju (75%) and Tartu (69%) counties, mainly due to the high input of the cities of Tallinn and Tartu.

The share of agriculture, forestry and fishing was the biggest in Jõgeva county (22%). The share of industry and construction was the largest in Ida-Viru county (53%), which shows the important role of mining and energy in this county’s economic activity.

In 2013, Estonia’s GDP per capita was 14,218 euros. Compared to 2012, this indicator has risen by 884 euros. In 2013, the GDP per capita was the highest in Harju county, exceeding Estonia’s average by 42%. Harju county was followed by Tartu and Lääne-Viru counties, where the GDP per capita was 86% and 73% of the Estonian average, respectively. The indicator was the lowest in Põlva county, where the GDP per capita was less than a half of the Estonian average.

GDP per capita, 2013

Diagram: GDP per capita, 2013

Statistics Estonia revised the regional accounts time series for 2000–2012 according to the new European System of National and Regional Accounts (ESA 2010). The main change for the regional GDP was the calculation of local kind-of-activity units.

For additional information about the revision of the GDP time series published on 8 September is available HERE.

Impact of the time series revision by region, 2009–2012 (percentages)
Aasta Põhja-Eesti Lääne-Eesti Kirde-Eesti Kesk-Eesti Lõuna-Eesti Kokku
2009 1,1 4,1 2,2 1,7 -0,2 1,2
2010 2,2 5,6 2,2 0,9 2,1 2,4
2011 1,0 0,6 1,9 1,9 1,2 1,2
2012 2,6 -1,0 -6,6 2,0 1,0 1,3

Industry and construction – mining and quarrying; manufacturing; electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply; water supply; sewerage, waste management and remediation activities; construction.

Services – wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles; transportation and storage; accommodation and food service activities; information and communication; financial and insurance activities; real estate activities; professional, scientific and technical activities; administrative and support service activities; public administration and defence; compulsory social security; education; human health and social work activities; arts, entertainment and recreation; other service activities.

Source: Statistics Estonia

Estonia’s 2016-2030 oil shale development plan

The draft of the Estonian national oil shale development plan for 2016-2030 says oil shale mining in Estonia will remain capped at 20 million tons per year and it will be necessary to set up one or two new mines during the years covered by the development plan.

The list of mineral deposits in the Estonian Environment Register shows the size of oil shale stocks at 4.75 billion tons of which active stocks amount to 1.34 billion tons. Leaving aside areas currently covered by restrictions, active stocks will suffice for roughly 48 years if the annual extraction limit is left at 20 million tons, the Environment Ministry said.

The development plan names effective and sustainable use of oil shale as a mineral deposit important for Estonia and reducing the sector’s environmental impact as paramount. Another objective set out in the development plan is ensuring the oil shale sector’s sustainable development and supply of oil shale considering economic, security and social goals, the ministry said.

Implementation of the development plan is estimated to cost 20 million euros. It will be implemented based on an operational program that will be initially drafted for the years 2016–2019. The estimated cost of its measures is 3.5 million euros. Performance against the goals of the development plan will be analyzed after each five-year period to take account of changes in technologies, market situation, environmental requirements and the revealed environmental impact.

Source: Baltic News Service through Estonian Review

Estonia’s fishing quota for NW, NE Atlantic grows by 200 tons

The permitted total amount of catches of Estonian fishers in Northwestern and Northeastern Atlantic in 2015 will be 200 tons bigger than this year, according to a decision adopted at a meeting of the EU Agriculture and Fisheries Council in Brussels.

The most important for the Estonian fishery sector are catches of redfish, lesser halibut, shrimp, skate and cod in Northwestern and Northeastern Atlantic. Of these species Estonian fishers will be able to catch approximately 3,300 tons, almost 200 tons more than this year, Kaire Martin, head of the department for fish stocks at the Estonian Ministry of Environment, said in a press release.

Since fish stocks in Northwestern Atlantic are recovering, target fishing of flounder was re-opened after a break of almost 20 years. The quota for that species is 1,000 tons, most of which belongs to Canada and Russia. Of EU member states only Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania were assigned a part of the quota — 44 tons each.

The redfish quota for Estonia in Northwestern Atlantic next year is 2,085 tons, 168 tons more than this year. The quota for lesser halibut increased slightly to 313 tons, whereas the quotas for squid and skate were left unchanged at 128 and 283 tons.

In Northeastern Atlantic Estonian fishers mainly catch shrimp in international waters in the Barents Sea and off Greenland. No quota applies to shrimp fishing in the Barents Sea.

As far as other species go, Estonia was assigned a quota for mackerel in the amount of 262 tons, a quota for redfish in Irminger Sea in the amount of 44 tons, as well as by-catch quotas for lesser halibut, skate and blue ling.

An opportunity to harvest redfish in the Norwegian Sea will open up for Estonia next year provided that an international agreement is signed with countries of Northeastern Atlantic. Negotiations are set to start in the first quarter of next year.

Source: Baltic News Service through Estonian Review

Estonian immigration quota for 2015 is 1,322 people

The Estonian Government on Thursday set an immigration quota for non-EU nationals wanting to reside in Estonia.

According to the decision, up to 1,322 people who are not citizens of the European Union will be allowed to apply for a temporary residence permit. The number represents 0.1% of the Estonian population.

Compared to previous years, there has been an increase: in 2014 and 2013, respectively 996 and 1,000 non-EU citizens were allowed to settle in Estonia. The Government said that the quota was raised due to an increased appeal of Estonia as a place to work and live.

According to the current law, the immigration quota of Estonia shall not exceed 0,1% of Estonian permanent population in one year. The quota does not apply to the citizens of the United States and Japan, and for those who want to come to Estonia for the purpose of making a research or study.

Temporary residence permits are issued for up to 5 years.

Source: ERR

EU allows producing diesel from oil shale

The European Parliament on Wednesday did not support a resolution relating to the quality of petrol and diesel fuels, meaning that the situation remains favourable for producing motor fuel from oil shale in Estonia.

“The European Parliament narrowly did not adopt the fuel quality resolution. Hence the situation favourable for Estonia will prevail,” Estonian MEP Urmas Paet said on social media.

In his remarks released earlier on Wednesday, Estonia’s Environment Minister Mati Raidma said the fuel directive being handled by the European Parliament was suitable for Estonia in its present form and would mean that motor fuels made from oil shale will be competitive in the European Union in the future.

The fuel quality directive in its present form would treat motor fuels as equal regardless of whether they have been produced from crude oil or oil shale. “Estonia has been a strong supporter of that line, it’s important for us to get an assurance that producing oil shale fuel from oil shale, which is significantly more environment friendly than producing electricity from oil shale, is acceptable for the EU market. So that it was legal and possible to sell that fuel in European Union member states,” Raidma said.

The resolution voted down by the European Parliament on Wednesday opposed the adoption of the draft Council directive as not compatible with the declared aim of the directive and called on the Commission to withdraw the draft Council directive and to submit a new one to the European Parliament’s Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety.

Source: BNS through Estonian Review

Estonia’s e-residency program to cost 1.2 mEUR

The Estonian e-residency program is seen to cost 1.2 million euros during the first 18 months, according to initial estimates by the Ministry of Economy and Communications.

“The ministry has sent inquiries to all parties connected with the e-residency project to find out how much their expenditures will grow in their own estimate as a result of the e-residency project,” Taavi Kotka, deputy secretary general of the Ministry of Economy and Communications for communications and information systems and spokesman for the e-residency program, told BNS.

“According to an initial estimate by the ministry, costs for the e-residency project in the next 18 months will total approximately 1.2 million euros,” the official said.

As examples, he named a request for additional money by the Justice Ministry to improve customer support at Commercial Register, a request by the State Information System Authority for money to set up support for the ID card in English language, etc.

Kotka said it has to be kept in mind that the project’s costs and income depend on its success and are subject to change. The government has tasked the Finance Ministry and the Ministry of Economy and Communications with finding necessary fund.

“To go on with the project, the government decided to set up a project team with Enterprise Estonia. Enterprise Estonia is ready to partially cover the costs related to that team,” he said.

As the next step under the e-residency program the Ministry of Economy and Communication is about to launch a program titled “10 million e-Estonians” within whose framework at least 17,000 e-residents and via them 5,000 businesses are to be brought to Estonia in the next three years.

The program will be carried out by a program team to be set up with the Enterprise Estonia showroom. Kotka, who heads a council bringing together public and private sector representatives, will be responsible for the implementation of the program. The council will endorse the program’s content, goals and operational plans.

The program for 10 million e-Estonians covers six areas: registering of e-residency, developing of services geared toward e-residents, quality of services and support, risk management and security, developing of legal environment, and marketing and communication.

In addition to launching the program plans are to take faster steps to make application for e-residency simpler and simplify the services that e-residents show the biggest interest in.

E-residency is a state-issued secure digital identity for non-residents that allows digital authentication and the digital signing of documents. The purpose of e-residency is to make life easier by offering people living abroad an opportunity to use the secure e-services that have been accessible to Estonians already for years.

E-residency is provided by the government of the Republic of Estonia, but does not bring physical residency or rights of entry to Estonia or the EU. E-residency does not entail any residential or citizen rights and cannot be used as a physical identification card or travel document.

Source: BNS through Estonian Review

President opened a water filter plant in Narva

The President, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, opened the Aquaphor water filter plant in Narva today, which is the largest and most modern of its kind in Estonia and in Europe in general.

“The fact that the plant was built right here demonstrates recognition and trust in Narva and the local people,” said the Head of State, who added that the plant will provide employment for approximately 300 local people.

“This also shows the good opportunities offered by Narva, a border town of the European Union, with both a good geographical location and a local, motivated labour force willing to learn. This has been spotted by many entrepreneurs; however, there is still room for more in both Narva and Ida-Virumaa in general,” said President Ilves.

“An innovative and modern Estonia, a country with transparent rules and well-developed IT solutions, represents an environment that supports entrepreneurship and encourages each and every entrepreneur who wishes to seriously connect themselves with Estonia,” confirmed the Head of State, as he welcomed Аquaphor Group, an international concern that last year achieved sales turnover of over 100 million USD, and wished them luck with their venture in Narva.

The everyday running of the business in Estonia will be managed by Westaqua-Invest OÜ, a subsidiary of the holding company Electophor Inc. (USA), which last year had a turnover of 15.3 million euros and a profit of 2.7 million euros.

Aquaphor’s water filter plant is located in the Narva logistics and industrial park. This is a part of the Foundation Ida-Virumaa Industrial Areas Development, which was established by the towns of Narva, Jõhvi, Kohtla-Järve and Kiviõli and the ministries of finance, economic affairs and communications and environment.

Source: Office of the President, Public Relations Department via Estonian Review