Estonia with lowest public debt level

public debt

Drug- induced mortality rates

narkosurmade tihedus Euroopas

The average interest margin for housing loans rose in May

The total volume of loans and leases to Estonian companies and households was 3.2% larger in May than a year earlier. The financing portfolio increased by 103 million euros during the month to 15.5 billion euros with around 70% of the monthly increase coming from corporate debt liabilities.

The volume of loans and leases to companies continued to grow stably in May. The total volume of loans and leases to companies grew by 3% over the year and some 759 million euros in new loans and leases were given to companies during the month, about the same amount as a year ago. New long-term loans worth 179 million euros were granted, most of them to companies in trade, real estate or manufacturing.

Annual growth in the volume of housing loans picked up in May to 3.6%. An average of 80 million euros has been issued each month over the past three months, which is around one fifth more than in the same period last year. There was also an increase in other household loans and leases issued in the first half of this year, mainly because of car leases, which have been increasing in volume since December last year and are around 20% up over the year. At the same time there was a fall of about the same amount in the volume of car leases issued to companies.

The average interest margin for housing loans issued by the banks rose. EURIBOR, which is the base interest rate for a majority of housing loans, fell in the first half of this year, but the average interest rate on housing loans rose at the same time. This reflects the efforts of the banks to maintain profitability when interest rates are low. The average interest rate for housing loans issued in May rose to 2.3% and the average interest rate for long-term loans taken by companies was 2.5%.

The share of overdue loans in the loan portfolio remains small. The share of loans overdue by more than 60 days in the loan portfolio increased slightly to 1.6% in May with increases in overdue loans to companies in agriculture, trade and manufacturing.

The deposits of companies and households continued to grow rapidly. The annual growth in the deposits of companies accelerated to 9%, while household deposits grew by an annual 8%. Total deposits stood at 10.1 billion euros at the end of May.


Source: Mari Tamm, Economist at Eesti Pank

Report : smart immigration policy helps boost economic development

Estonia can use both employment reforms and other reforms as well as migration wisely and in suitable proportions as levers for improving the outlook of its economic development, a study examining the country’s options in migration policy compiled by the National Audit Office says.

“If Estonia wants to be successful in the international competition for attracting people who have the capacity to generate income, it has to guarantee for such people a suitable working and living environment that proceeds from a broad view of the world,” the study finds.

According to forecasts, the number of working-age people or people aged 20-64 in Estonia will decrease by approximately 50,000 in the next five years and by as much as 165,000 by 2040. At the same time, the number of people aged 65 and over will increase by approximately 24,000 by 2020 and by more than 88,000 by 2040.

“As someone has to maintain our pension and health insurance system as well as our state and society as a whole, we all have to figure out how to generate the income that can be used to meet society’s demands in order to preserve the standard of living and guarantee the economic development of Estonia,” the reports says.

The implementation of reforms will make it possible to bring a bigger share of the inactive part of the population to the labour market and to increase productivity, but the initiation of reforms in the nearest future will only generate results in the distant future and their impact may not be sufficient. This means that although a rather sizeable part of the state’s need for workforce can be covered internally in Estonia, it is unlikely that domestic sources can provide the entire workforce needed for the development of Estonian economy, the National Audit Office says, adding that Estonia also needs a more active and successful approach to smartly using the skills and knowledge that can be offered by the people who come to work and live in Estonia from other parts of the world.

Source: Baltic News Service

First municipal bank founded in Estonia since reindependence

Eesti Ühistupank (Estonian Cooperative Bank) was established on Tuesday by 119 individuals and 334 corporations.

This is the first cooperative bank in Estonia since the country regained its independence in 1991.

Taavi Aas, acting mayor of Tallinn and member of the bank’s board, said the aim is to launch a universal quality bank with a wide base of investors, which focuses on serving Estonian people and companies.

Mae Hansen, the chairman of the board, added that the cooperative bank makes decisions with local development in mind and it helps to diversify the situation in Estonian loan market.

“Almost 90 percent of the market is dominated by four banks and these are all based on Nordic capital,” Hansen told ERR. “Imagine the situation if the next financial crisis is to take place in the Nordic countries. It will have a tremendous effect on our market. That’s why we need to diversify, and having a cooperative bank, which is based on local capital, is of great help here,” she explained.

The cooperative bank is the initiative of the City of Tallinn, but includes founding members from all over the country. Tallinn City Council allocated 5 million euros of city funds to the establishment of the bank last week. The Reform Party faction of the city council called the allotment a waste of tax payers’ money.

Once the bank gets an approval from the Financial Supervision Authority, it will start handing out loans to private persons and companies, as well as agricultural, energy and housing societies. The bank should open its doors next fall.

The CEO of the new cooperative bank is Ülle Mathiesen.

Source: ERR News

Asylum seekers come from Ukraine mainly

While more than a fourth of first time asylum seekers registered in member states of the European Union in the first quarter of this year originated from Kosovo, it is mostly Ukrainians who seek asylum in Estonia, figures released by Eurostat show.

EU countries received a total of 184,815 first time applications in the first three months of this year. Some 48,600 applicants or 26 percent were from Kosovo, 29,100 or 16 percent from Syria and 12,900 or 7 percent from Afghanistan.

Of the 50 asylum applications submitted in Estonia during the same period, 30 were received from Ukrainian citizens, which makes 60 percent of the total. Sudanese and Nepalese applicants numbered five each, accounting equally for 10 percent of the overall number.

Source: Baltic News Service

Over half of stateless residents want to become citizens of Estonia

More than half of the people with undetermined citizenship living in Estonia would like to get Estonian citizenship but have difficulty mastering the official language to the necessary level, it appears from the findings of the survey titled “Monitoring of Integration in Estonian Society in 2015” published on Thursday.

According to the outcome of the survey commissioned by the Ministry of Culture, 57 percent of stateless residents wish to obtain Estonian citizenship. They most frequently name inability to master the Estonian language as the main obstacle to naturalization.

In addition the outcome of the survey reveals the absence of strong motivators to meet the conditions set for the acquisition of citizenship, as one in three stateless respondents say that not having citizenship does not affect their ability to live in Estonia. Besides it’s easier for people who do not have Estonian citizenship to travel to Russia and other CIS states.

Citizens of Estonia make up 85 percent of the Estonian population and one-sixth of the population does not have Estonian citizenship. Of ethnic Russian residents of Estonia, 54 percent have Estonian citizenship, 24 percent Russian citizenship and 21 percent are stateless. Of ethnic Estonians 99.6 percent are citizens of Estonia.

From the viewpoint of integration policy it is causing concern that as much as 19 percent of the people of ethnic backgrounds other than Estonian who were born in Estonia and whose parents were also born in Estonia are not citizens of Estonia. The proportion of such residents has not declined compared with the previous similar survey taken in 2011. Besides there is as much as 34 percent of non-citizens among the so-called second generation, or people of ethnic backgrounds other than Estonian born in Estonia.

One-third of the people born in Estonia who do not have Estonian citizenship are young people of ages 15-34 and one-fifth of them describe their command of Estonian as good or very good. That such young people born in Estonia and having good command of Estonian language do not have full political rights and are staying apart from Estonian citizenry is a serious challenge to Estonia’s integration policy, the authors of the survey say.

Considering the low opinion of this population segment of their command of Estonian, but also the bigger proportion of members of the older generations and people with vocational or high school education among them, inability to meet the set conditions may indeed be considered an obstacle to the acquisition of citizenship.

According to the survey, a remarkable change has taken place in recent years in the attitude of Estonians towards easing the procedures for obtaining citizenship, with the vast majority of Estonians now expressing the opinion that all children born in the Republic of Estonia should obtain Estonian citizenship by simplified procedure regardless of the citizenship of their parents, and the same should apply to other people who have born in the Republic of Estonia.

The integration monitoring survey is an independent in-depth survey of the field of integration commissioned by the Ministry of Culture that is carried out every three to four years. The survey of 2015 is the sixth such survey.

Research for the study, which sampled a total of 1,200 respondents in Estonia, was carried out in January and February this year. Additionally focus group interviews were conducted, which focused on multilingual schools, media consumption and employment opportunities for young people of different ethnic backgrounds.

Source: Baltic News Service

Estonian integration activities in 2014

Minister of Culture Indrek Saar introduced the 2014 summary of the “Integrating Estonia 2020” development plan to the Government of the Republic. The Government acknowledged the summary. The summary highlights the status of fulfilling strategic and area-specific objectives as well as the used funds in 2014.

Development plan “Integrating Estonia 2020” serves as a basis for the implementation and funding of the integration policy for the period of 2014-2020. The general objective of the development plan is to have the Estonian society integrated and socially cohesive, to have people with different linguistic and cultural backgrounds actively participating in the society and sharing democratic values.

“The most significant initiatives of the last year were the decision to create a Russian language television channel as well as developing the conditions of the support measures of the European Social Fund for supporting permanent residents less integrated into the Estonian society and new arrivals. A recommended model has also been developed for transitioning to Estonian as a language of instruction in basic schools,” explained the Undersecretary for Cultural Diversity to the Ministry of Culture Anne-Ly Reimaa. “The language immersion programme, preparing the Russian module for the “Jurist aitab” interactive portal and many other activities also continued,” Reimaa added.

In 2014, all target levels in citizenship, general education and employment were fulfilled. For example, the number of persons with undetermined citizenship decreased and 1,611 people were granted Estonian citizenship under naturalisation. The average final examination results in Estonian among students with a native language different from Estonian also improved and the share of 18–24 year old people with a native language different from Estonian and with a low level of education decreased. The employment rate decreased among Estonians as well as among other nationalities and the employment gap between Estonians and employees of other nationals decreased as well.

The average results of final examinations of basic school in Estonian as a second language has a slight decrease from 68 points to 67.1 points. The employment rate of residents of other nationalities also declined from 60.3% to 59.2%.

A detailed implementation plan for 2014-2017 complements the “Integrating Estonia 2020” development plan. The size of the 2014 budget of the implementation plan was 3,440,000 euros. In addition to the Ministry of Culture, in 2014, the measures and activities of the development plan were also funded by the Ministry of the Interior, Ministry of Education and Research, Ministry of Social Affairs and the Ministry of Justice.

Source: Ministry of Social Affairs

Government buys land on Estonian border

Four in five owners of land on the Estonian-Russian border have given their consent to clearing their land on the border strip of trees and bushes and the Interior Ministry will start making offers to buy the land at the end of this month.

At the moment 77 owners of privately held land plots or about 80 percent of landowners have given their consent to clearing of the border strip, spokespeople for the Interior Ministry told BNS. The ministry is planning to buy up all the land that constitutes the border strip by the end of this year.

Interior Minister Hanno Pevkur, who visited south-eastern Estonia for the cornerstone laying ceremony of the new complex of the border guard base at Piusa on Monday, met with the landowners who have allowed work to be done on their land to thank them for cooperation.

“Evaluation of the land under the border strip will begin already at the end of this month, at the same time making of proposals to landowners to sell the land under the border strip will begin,” Pevkur said. He said the ministry wishes to make just offers for the land and expects to be able to avoid expropriation. “We are planning to transfer all the pieces of land under the border strip that are currently in private ownership by the end of 2015,” Pevkur said.

Seventy-two kilometres of the border between Estonia and Russia making up approximately 200 hectares of the roughly 300 hectares of land constituting the border strip has been cleared of high-growth vegetation by now. The work will continue through the summer.

Source: BNS News

April saw a reduction in Estonia’s activity in foreign markets

The flash estimate1 put the Estonian current account at 20 million euros in surplus in April 2015. Almost all the components in the current account were down, as exports and imports of goods and services and income from direct investment were less than in April last year. As the fall in imports was larger than that in exports however, the current account moved into surplus.

The sum total of the current and capital accounts was also positive in April. This means that the Estonian economy was a net lender to the rest of the world, so the country as a whole invested more resources abroad than it received from there.

Eesti Pank is publishing the flash estimate of the balance of payments monthly for the last month but one. From January 2015 Eesti Pank is accompanying the publication of the flash estimate with a short comment. The statistics on the second quarter of 2015 will be published with a comment on 8 September.

1 The quarterly balance of payments is compiled from a combined system of representative primary data sources, including surveys of companies, while the monthly balance of payments draws from a considerably smaller database. Although the monthly report uses as much data available for the month reported as possible, including administrative data sources and reports on international payments, it is subjective to a certain degree, which is why it is called an estimate. Once the quarterly balance of payments is released, the monthly balances of payments are adjusted accordingly.

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