The Baltic nation is currently the only member of the European Union that is not a Eurcontrol member state. Estonia first signed a letter of intent to join Eurocontrol in June 2013. Juhan Parts, minister for economic affairs and communications for Estonia, has met with delegation from Eurocontrol and also wrote a letter to the president Eurocontrol's permanent commission informing him of the country's intent to join.
Eurocontrol is expecting an application from Estonia in January.
"If all goes according to plan, Estonia will become Eurocontrol’s 41st Member State on 1 January 2015," Eurocontrol said in a statement.
While Tallinn had 393,232 residents in 31 December 2011, it now has over 430,000 people in its register. At the same time, Harku municipality just outside Tallinn, saw its number of residents fall from 14,181 to 12,981 over the same period.
Even the wealthy Viimsi municipalty has seen a decline in residents, from 18,534 to 17,834.
The same goes for Maardu city, Jõelähtme, Rae, Kiili, Saku, Saue and Keila municipalities. “This is unfair and not good, but people go where they find it better,” says Arno Hirtentreu, chairman of the municipal council of Harku.
Latvia and Estonia – Two of the three nations that make up the Baltics – don’t have a ton to hang their hats on when it comes to international notoriety. So, it’s understandable if the two are battling it out over who can claim to be the home of the decorated Christmas tree.
Both countries think they have a sturdy stump to stand on. In honor of the 500th anniversary of what officials believe to be the first tree, Latvians in 2010 erected a permanent Christmas tree sculpture in Riga made of metallic mirrors. The sculpture proclaims Riga as the “Capital of the Decorated Christmas Tree”.
Estonians, however, are singing a different carol, where historians say the first Christmas tree was seen in 1441, almost 70 years ahead of its neighbor.
This is more than just harmless bickering over which nation started decorating Christmas trees first. Holding the status as the tradition’s motherland is one of the meaningful draws for tourists at the coldest and darkest time of year in Northern Europe.
This year, for instance, the Live Riga tourist agency this year sponsored a Christmas Tree Trail of 25 stylized trees designed by artists and placed in various sites and neighborhoods to light up the dark and snowless parks and squares. One tree looks like an unfolded Rubik’s cube, some others resemble giant snowflakes. Yet another tree by the National Opera is surrounded by mannequins in sunglasses who look like The Men in Black.
Boston - Tobacco excise rates continued to increase in 2012, which resulted in a decline in consumption of cigarettes. As Estonian retailing was faced with overall price increases, more Estonians tried to quit the smoking habit. At the end of 2012, discussion regarding tobacco policy increased as the Estonian Social Ministry introduced "The Green Paper on Tobacco Policy". This document proposed a bundle of strict regulations which would be introduced in the near future.
Euromonitor International's Cigarettes in Estonia report offers a comprehensive guide to the size and shape of the market at a national level. It provides the latest retail sales data 2008-2012, allowing you to identify the sectors driving growth. It identifies the leading companies, the leading brands and offers strategic analysis of key factors influencing the market - be the new legislative, distribution or pricing issues. Forecasts to 2017 illustrate how the market is set to change.
Amendment proposals increased the total volume of the budget, that initially was to be 501.3 mln euros, by 351,000 euros at the second reading and by more than 1.13 mln euros more in the third reading.
The final voting of the budget took place after midnight, after the city council had been in session for over ten hours.
TALLINN- Representatives of the Baltic States reached a common understanding at a meeting on Dec. 10, agreeing that there is not enough time for the creation of the proposed Rail Baltica joint venture by Jan. 1, reports Public Broadcasting. Rail Baltica’s Estonian project manager, Indrek Sirp, said that all Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian parties to the project wish to have formed the company by the start of the New Year, or as soon as possible. He said that several issues in the shareholder agreement still need discussing, although on many topics consensus has been achieved.
“Harmonizing positions among negotiators has turned out to be more complicated than thought; hence we will not be able to stay within the initially proposed schedule,” said Sirp. An even bigger obstacle to building the pan-Baltic railway, connecting Helsinki with Berlin, was revealed by European Parliament members, who said they are afraid that building Rail Baltica may fail due to extra conditions now presented by the Lithuanian government, reported Estonian Public Broadcasting.
The Baltic-European parliament members’ group that convened in Brussels in early December stressed that in a situation where all European Union institutions support Rail Baltica, it is necessary to move faster with the project in order to avoid being deprived of EU funds.
By the end of November 2013, Estonian authorities had issued 565 residence permits in 2013 while the ceiling limit set for this year is 1,000, LETA/Public Broadcasting reports.
The government set the ceiling for the next year at 996 permits or 0.075% of Estonia's permanent population, at its Thursday session. According to the law, the ceiling cannot exceed 0.1% of Estonia's permanent population. The ceiling covers term residence permits for working, business and term residence permits based on foreign agreements.
The immigration ceiling is not applied to citizens of European Union member states, European Economic Area member states or Switzerland.
The ceiling isn’t applied either for persons coming to Estonia to live with their spouse, near relative, to study and do research in Estonia, for citizens of the USA and Japan.
The ship that did icebreaking work in Estonia last year and this summer worked in German wind energy parks, isn’t meant just for icebreaking but can fulfil much more complicated tasks corresponding to DP3 requirements, meaning that the ship can be a base platform for special diving works, for example.
"We have given a clear signal to the world energy industry that a ship sailing under the Estonian flag and with an Estonian crew is completely competitive in the world energy industry's maritime projects," the port's subsidiary company TS Shipping OÜ board member Ülo Eero told the newspaper.
The aim of the study was to map the state of problematic apartment buildings. Apartment buildings that have three or more apartments and where at least 25% of apartments are empty were considered problematic.
The poll was conducted in 72 towns and parishes. The amount of such buildings is the biggest in the South East Estonian town Valga and in North Eastern Lääne-Virumaa county. The study recommends supporting local municipalities financially to move people in the buildings that are in a better state and demolish the empty buildings. The state could help renovate the buildings where people move to.
Economy ministry construction and housing department head Margus Sarmet said that the biggest problem is that all apartments are privatised and thus it is difficult for local municipalities and the state to make changes.
Eesti Päevaleht puts the number of such buildings at 476 and says that the study recommends demolishing around a half of them and renovating the rest. The study also makes a proposal to pay a compensation of a thousand euros to people who agree to move out of the half-empty buildings so that they could be demolished.
Hourly labor costs in Romania rose 4.2 percent in the third quarter against the same period in 2012. Romania’s increase in hourly labor costs – which include wages and salaries, social contributions and employment taxes – was among the largest in the EU, behind Estonia (+8.1 percent), Lithuania (+6.2 percent) and Latvia (+5.9 percent).
In terms of wages, Romania’s increase was also 4.2 percent in Q3 this year, compared Q3 in 2012, alongside a 4.2 percent increase in non-wage labor costs, the Eurostat statistics show.
In the business economy, the hourly wages rose 2.9 percent including a 2.9 percent rise in wages, while in the non-business economy they rose 8.5 percent. Breaking the Q3 year-on-year rises down by sector, industry saw a 3.7 percent jump in wages, construction a 3.4 percent increase and services a 2.3 percent.
Hourly labour costs in the euro, EA17 countries, rose by 1.0 percent in the year up to the third quarter of 2013, compared with +1.1 percent for the second quarter of 2013. In the EU28, the annual rise was also 1.0 percent up to the third quarter of 2013, compared with +1.1 percent in the previous quarter. For more information click here
Portuguese carrier TAP Portugal will launch Tallinn-Lisbon flights in summer 2014, which makes several destinations in South America and Africa more accessible for Estonians, LETA/Public Broadcasting reports.
Tallinn Airport board member Erik Sakkov said that TAP Portugal will present its flight schedule in the coming days.
Sakkov said that opening the TAP Portugal route is a remarkable investment in the Estonian economy and will bring tourists to Estonia and will expand trade and export possibilities for Estonian businessmen at the South American market too.
"Addition of TAP Portugal to the list of carriers flying from Tallinn brings new destinations and possibilities to get to the Azores, Madeira, Cabo Verde islands and Brazil with just one stopover," said Sakkov.
The Lisbon flight will be the longest (3,314 km) regular flight from Tallinn. A319, A320 and A321 planes will travel the distance in nearly 5 hours.
Poland and the Baltic states of Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia on Monday expressed alarm at reports that Russia planned to deploy, or already has deployed, Iskander-M missiles close to their borders.
The Estonian and Lilthuanian defense ministers both called the news "alarming," describing it as "cause for concern."
Latvian Defense Minister Artis Pabriks said on Monday that such a move would change the "balance of powers in our region" and "threatens several Baltic cities." The United States also expressed its concern, with State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf saying "we've urged Russia to take no steps to destabilize the region."
Washington said it had received no official word from Moscow about the deployment.
On Saturday, the German mass-circulation Bild newspaper reported that secret satellite imagery showed Iskander-M missiles stationed near the Polish border.
After spending eight years and $20-million in a quixotic bid to fix up a bargain-basement Soviet car ferry once derided as the “rust bucket from Estonia,” the government of Newfoundland and Labrador have given up, selling it for scrap for just $76,000.
The 43-metre, 24-car M/V Nonia, which began its commission in the final days of European communism before becoming a persistent drain on Newfoundland’s ferry maintenance budget, is currently in St. Mary’s Bay being stripped down for its ignoble retirement as a floating work platform.
“We realized that continuing to invest money into the Nonia was throwing good money after bad,” Nick McGrath, the province’s Minister of Transportation and Works told a news conference Monday.
Built in 1986 in what is now the capital of Latvia, the Nonia sailed under the name Ahelaid until 1999, when the Liberal government of Newfoundland and Labrador bought it from a newly independent Estonia for $1.2-million.
“Dissent is the highest form of patriotism,” is a quote commonly attributed to Thomas Jefferson. I have followed this conviction throughout my life, in speaking up when I felt it necessary, including at times against what I believe to have been wrong actions conducted by my government. And for this I have suffered.
I have been away from my Estonian homeland for nearly two years now. I am not an economic immigrant, nor someone seeking a better life outside of my Baltic State; I am a political refugee. Now it is not fashionable, nor easily accepted in the sanctimonious definitions to be a political refugee within the European Union, but plenty do exist.
My crime was to fall out with my party, the Reform Party and its government, and to attack corruption within it. As a result of this I was charged with fraud and theft, which took more than five years to come to trial, and in a tried and tested Soviet style court case I was convicted.
I was not allowed to call witnesses in my defense, documents disappeared and were tampered with and my right to appeal to the ultimate State court in Estonia was denied to me. To make my situation more difficult, the Director of Prisons went public and said he could not guarantee my safety when I reported to prison to serve a five month term. So, when I was in London and found out, through the Estonian media, that I was required to report for prison, naturally I did not. Because of the failure to guarantee my safety and threats on my life, as well as kidnapping, I decided to stay in London. The Estonian government next issued a European Extradition Warrant to force my return. So far in every court appearance in the UK these have been defeated.
The big news yesterday in Estonia was the solution that Finland is reportedly considering: to replace the car tax with a new kilometer-based fee that is calculated by the on-board tracking system, Eesti Päevaleht writes in its editorial.
Although the concept “Those who drive more must also pay more” that Finnish experts including Jorma Ollila made to the Finnish Minister of Transport will not be introduced in Finland before 2022, it is one possible development scenario for Estonia which does not have a formal car tax, but burdens its motorists with several indirect taxes.
Estonia has recently also seen similar attempts by the ruling Reform Party which attempted to decrease the VAT deduction on company cars. The response to Jürgen Ligi’s proposal showed that it’s not the right time to tax passenger cars in Estonia at present nor it is fair.
Reform Party has been trying to change the current taxation of cars by making sure that it does not break its election promises. The party says that it does not support car tax, but Ligi’s attempt was nothing else but to increase tax burden on car use.
One thing that Estonia could learn from Finns is the long-term vision of the Finnish government. If Finland decided in favour of the so-called kilometer fee, the county will have ten years to equip all cars with satellite navigation systems.
Estonia’s problem is that new cars are becoming more fuel-efficient which means that the state is receiving less money from fuel excise duty.
"TeliaSonera's operating model will become country-based starting April 1 next year," said TeliaSonera concern deputy president and foreign communications manager Salomon Bekele. "This means that our organisation will in the future not be divided on the basis of technologies like it is with EMT and Elion now."
Bekele said that it will be announced in the first quarter of next year how the country-based management in Estonia will take place.
TeliaSonera announced on Monday, Dec. 16 that it introduces a new operating model April 1st, 2014, in order to increase its customer focus through clearer local accountability. The country structure will be grouped in three geographic areas; Europe, Eurasia and Sweden.
The overall percentage of people living in relative poverty increased 1.2 percentage points compared to the previous year, but the percentage of people living in absolute poverty decreased 0.8 percentage points.
In 2012, the income of the population increased, at the same time income inequality increased as well. Social transfers (state benefits and pensions) helped to prevent falling into poverty, as had they been included in income, the at-risk-of-poverty rate would have been 39.6% and the absolute poverty rate – 31.3%.
In 2012, a person was considered to be at-risk-of-poverty if his/her monthly equalised disposable income was below 329 euros (299 euros in 2011) and in absolute poverty if his/her monthly equalised disposable income was below 196 euros (186 euros in 2011). In 2012, the difference in income between the poorest and richest fifth of the population was 5.5-fold.
Estonian and Finnish police say they have broken up a major drug ring that brought large volumes of drugs into Finland from Central Europe.
At a press conference in Tallinn on Tuesday afternoon, police from the two countries said the Estonian gang had smuggled in at least four batches of drugs including 76 kilos amphetamines as well as ecstasy and hashish. One of the recipients of the drug deliveries was the Bandidos motorcycle gang, authorities say.
Last May, the organisation hid some 30 kilos of amphetamines in the forests of Espoo and Kirkkonummi, west of Helsinki, police allege. They have recovered some 20 kilos of the drugs.
Operations run from behind bars
Finnish and Estonian officials believe that the imports, reception and distribution of the drugs were coordinated from within Helsinki Prison. There are 25 suspects, including five Finns, who are all members of Bandidos MC or its affiliates. However it remains unclear how many – if any – have been detained.
Court proceedings against the five Finns are to begin at Espoo District Court in late January.