Estonia’s Russian-speaking residents against NATO presence

While among Estonian-speaking residents, support for the presence of NATO forces in Estonia is high, the majority of the Russian-speaking population is against it, results of a survey commissioned by the Ministry of Defence show.

Results of the survey show that 69 percent of Estonian residents support the presence of NATO forces in the country, and 23 percent are against it. Two years ago the indicators were 68 percent and 25 percent respectively.

While 89 percent of the Estonian-speaking population support the presence of allied forces and only 6 percent are against it, just 27 percent of the Russian-speaking residents support the presence while 57 percent are against it.

Sociologist Juhan Kivirähk of pollster Turu-uuringute AS that carried out the survey said that this attitude could also be seen looking at attitudes towards Estonia’s being a member of NATO.

The survey was carried out in March. 1,202 Estonian residents were interviewed. Since January 2000 and including this latest one, no fewer than 41 surveys have been conducted to sound out attitudes towards the alliance.

Source: BNS via ERR News

Border maintenance workers arrested by Russian border guard

Two men using a road on Russian territory to get from one Estonian village to another were arrested by Russian border guards on Thursday. Unaware that they had left Estonia, they stopped their vehicle, which according to current agreements between the two countries isn’t allowed. They were subsequently arrested and taken in for identity checks, but allowed to return after paying a fine.

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Nearly half of quota refugees currently not in Estonia

Nearly half of the refugees that have arrived in Estonia under the EU’s migrant distribution plan are not currently in the country and four families that are absent have been away from Estonia for more than 90 days, officials from the Ministry of Social Aaffairs said on Monday.

Triin Raag, head of international protection policy at the Ministry of Social Affairs, told BNS that besides the two families that have previously been known to be outside of Estonia for more than 90 days, another two families have now been away for that long. Both families came to Estonia from Greece this January. The seven-member family was sent to live in Tartu and the five-member family to live in Põlva.

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The immigrants to Estonia mostly come from Finland (45 pct)

According to Statistics Estonia, 14,822 persons immigrated to and 13,792 persons emigrated from Estonia in 2016. Immigration exceeded emigration for the second year. Most of the migrants were Estonian citizens, but their net migration was negative.

The most active group of migrants are 20–39-year-olds. The age group that grows the most in the population due to migration is that of 15–39-year-olds. 60% of the migrants are men and 40% are women. The net migration of men is four times higher than that of women – 800 more men arrived in Estonia in 2016 than left the country, whereas the same number for women was 200.

Most of the migrants are Estonian citizens, but there are more of them among emigrants, causing the net migration of Estonian citizens to be negative by 2,000 persons in 2016. The migrants are Estonian citizens aged 20–59, therefore, the age group of migration is quite large. In net terms, Estonia mainly loses citizens who are in their twenties.

As a result of migration, the number of Ukrainian citizens grew the most in Estonia; 850 more Ukrainian citizens arrived in Estonia in 2016 than left Estonia. In net migration, they were followed by the citizens of the Russian Federation, Finland and Latvia.Immigration by citizenship, 2016

Emigration by citizenship, 2016

The immigrants to Estonia mostly come from Finland (45% of immigrants), Ukraine (11%) and Russia (11%).  88% of the immigrants come from Europe, mainly from the European Union. The main destination country for emigrants is still Finland (58%), followed by the United Kingdom (9%). 94% of the emigrants left to a European country. The immigrants arriving from countries outside Europe have previously lived in the USA, Australia and India. The more popular destinations for emigrants leaving Estonia to non-European countries are Australia and the USA.

The press conference which presents an overview of the 2016 migration trends takes place today, on 23 May at 11 in the 5th floor conference room of Statistics Estonia (Tatari 51).

As of 2015, Statistics Estonia calculates external migration based on the residency index: a person’s transition from (Estonian permanent) resident to non-resident is emigration and the opposite is immigration (unless it is a case of birth or death). As a result, migration flows have increased and this must be taken into account when comparing migration data of 2015 and later to that of previous years. As a result of the changes, Estonia’s external migration also reflects unregistered migration; however, the country of origin and destination of many immigrants and emigrants remains unknown.

Source: Statistics Estonia

Estonian immigration exceeded emigration in 2015

According to Statistics Estonia, 15,413 persons immigrated to and 13,003 persons emigrated from Estonia in 2015. Net migration was 2,410 and natural increase -1,336, meaning that immigration compensated for the population decrease which occurred due to negative natural increase.

The most active group of external migrants was the group of 20–39-year-olds. In most age groups immigration exceeded emigration with the exception of the age groups of 10–14-year-olds and 25–29-year-olds. The number of men among the migrants exceeded that of women, but net migration indicates that the number of women who remain abroad exceeds that of men.

52% of the immigrants and 69% of the emigrants were citizens of Estonia, therefore the back-and-forth mobility of citizens of Estonia continues to constitute the majority of the external migration. 21% of the immigrants were EU citizens and 27% were citizens of third countries. 15% of the emigrants were EU citizens and 10% were of other citizenship. The EU citizens that immigrated were younger than the immigrants that were of Estonian or other citizenship, which, in the case of citizens of Estonia could be explained by the fact that they were mostly returning migrants. Of the citizenships that were most represented in external migration, the only number to decrease as a result of net migration was that of Estonian citizens. The increase was biggest for the persons holding citizenship of a third country. As a result of external migration, the biggest foreign citizenship groups that remained in Estonia were those of Ukraine, Russia and Finland. The immigration and emigration of EU citizens and people with undetermined citizenship balanced each other out.

Most of the persons whose migration country is known have gone to Finland or come from there. The main destination countries include other highly developed European countries such as the United Kingdom and Germany. The main source countries of immigration are, in addition to Finland, also Ukraine and Russia. By birth country, 49% of the immigrants are from Estonia, 11% from Russia and 8% from Ukraine. 68% of the emigrants were born in Estonia, 9% in Russia and 4% in Finland.Diagram: Immigration by citizenship, 2015

Diagram: Emigration by citizenship, 2015

As of 2016, Statistics Estonia calculates external migration based on the residency index: a person’s transition from resident to non-resident is emigration and the opposite is immigration (when it is not the case of birth or death). As a result, migration flows have increased and this must be taken into account when comparing 2015 migration data to that of previous years. As a result of the changes, the Estonian external migration reflects reality more accurately; however, the country of origin and destination of many immigrants and emigrants remains unknown.

Source: Statistics Estonia

The price level in Estonia falls under pressure from factors from abroad

  • The main cause of the fall in prices in February was the continuing descent of commodity prices on the global market
  • Prices fell for motor fuels in February even though the euro has weakened against the dollar and higher excise rates started to apply
  • Estonian companies use imported commodities as production inputs, and this has reduced core inflation
  • Uncertainty in the global economy is holding down the expectations of consumers and slowing growth in consumer prices in Estonia and in the euro area

Data from Statistics Estonia show that the consumer price index was 0.5% lower in February than a year earlier. The harmonised index of consumer prices for the euro area was also down, with consumer prices down by 0.2% over the year.

The main reason prices fell in Estonia was that commodities prices were again down on global markets. Falls in prices in foreign markets affect Estonian consumer prices through various channels. Lower prices for imported energy and food products have a direct impact. After the price of electricity was pushed up for a time in January by the cold weather, the fall in energy prices accelerated in February to 8.9%. Prices for motor fuels were 10.1% lower in February than a year earlier even though the euro had weakened against the US dollar and excise on motor fuels was raised in February.

Although the euro is lower against the dollar, the nominal effective exchange rate for Estonia, which takes account of all trading partners and the currencies used in transactions, has constantly strengthened over the past year. The main reason for this has been the sharp fall in the Russian rouble and the significant Russian share of Estonia’s trade, though the share has been reduced. The total effect of the divergence in the exchange rates has been to lower Estonian inflation by an estimated one percentage point.

Cheaper commodities also affect Estonian consumer prices indirectly as Estonian companies use imported commodities as production inputs. This brings down core inflation, which is the rise in prices of manufactured goods and services, and in February it stood at 1.3%. On top of the fall in prices for some production inputs, the low level of economic activity also reduced core inflation.

Inflation is also moved by the expectations of consumers. Uncertainty in the global economy is holding back rises in consumer prices in Estonia and in the whole of the euro area. The consensus forecasts of economic analysts for Estonia two years ahead have been steadily lowered for inflation to 2.3%. The calculations indicate that inflation in Estonia has been pulled down by around 0.8 percentage point by expectations in recent years. The economic forecast published by Eesti Pank in December put expected inflation at 1.2% for 2016, but the lower prices for commodities in recent months make it probable that inflation will be lower.

inflation

 

Estonia paid 188 mEUR to IMF

Eesti Pank made an additional payment to the International Monetary Fund on Feb.10,2016 of 188 million euros, which will increase Estonia’s participation in the IMF. This is part of the final phase of reform of the IMF quotas, which aims to increase the voting rights of developing countries.

Estonia’s participation or quota increased by some 150 million SDRs, or 188 million euros, and will be 244 million SDRs after the payment, or about 306 million euros. This will give Estonia 0.07% of the voting rights in the IMF. The increase in Estonia’s quota was approved by the Riigikogu in June 2012.

SDRs, or Special Drawing Rights, are units of account created by the International Monetary Fund. Their value is based on a basket of four currencies, the US dollar, the euro, the Japanese yen, and the pound sterling*.

The Riigikogu appointed Eesti Pank as the representative of Estonia at the IMF, and Eesti Pank made the payment to the IMF in relation to the increase in the quota, paying 25%, or 47 million euros, in SDRs and 75%, or around 141 million euros, in the local currency, which is the euro. The quota payment does not affect the state budget, as the only changes are in the structure of Eesti Pank’s assets.

On 30 June 2012 member states whose quotas added up to 70% of the total approved the increase in quotas. The increase in quotas also needed changes to be made to the Articles of Agreement of the IMF, which required the approval of 60% of the member states, representing 85% of the total votes. The last to ratify the reform was the USA, which did so in January 2016, after which all the member states, including Estonia, had to make their payments within not more than 30 days. Estonia’s increased participation in the IMF will apply after today’s payment.

* From 1 October 2016 the Chinese yuan will be added to the currency basket.


Background Information

The total value of the IMF quotas will be almost doubled from 238 billion SDRs to 477 billion SDRs. The IMF’s proposal to raise the quotas was prompted above all by the need to double the its resources in the face of a global financial crisis, given the changed position of quickly developing member states, including Estonia, in the global economy. The IMF regularly reviews the quotas of its member states at least once every five years.

The quota determines the maximum participation of the member state in the IMF. The size of the quota is calculated for each country using a formula that considers that country’s GDP, openness to trade, economic volatility in terms of capital flows and the current account, and currency reserves. Quotas are also important in determining whether member states can borrow from the IMF, as access to the IMF’s credit lines is usually linked to the applicant’s quota.

In June 2012 the Riigikogu ratified the proposed changes to the IMF’s Articles, which aimed to make the management of the IMF more flexible and to increase the voting rights of developing countries. Following the decision of the Riigikogu, Estonia gave its approval to the increase in the Estonian quota and to the changes in the IMF Articles. See also http://www.eestipank.ee/en/press/estonia-boost-its-stake-international-monetary-fund-175-million-euros-06062012.

Source: Bank of Estonia