Estonia became a member of the European Union on May 1st, 2004 and remains the only former Soviet country invited to join the OECD to this day (May 2010). Estonia has managed to move from a state-run and centralized economy to a dynamic market economy, liberalize by a succession of governments observing a strict budgetary orthodoxy while simultaneously modernizing the country. The country has stands out mainly thanks to its IT sector (the invention of Skype, mobile payment systems, internet voting, multifunctional electronic identity cards and initiatives in the sphere of cyber security) as well as its performances in the green energy sector.
As the so-called "Baltic Tiger" Estonia experienced an average annual growth of more than 8% between 2000 and 2007. The strong demand was supported by the large amount of foreign investment, rising wages and strong growth in household debt. However, due to its dependency on foreign investment, the country was hit hard by the recession (-5.1% of GDP in 2008 and -14% in 2009) , which resulted in a lack of liquidity, damaged real estate market, rising exchange rates and a spike in unemployment (more than 15% of the workforce in June 2009).
After two years of very deep recession, Estonia has achieved amongst the highest medium‑term growth rates in the OECD with 1.5% in 2013 after 2% in 2012. The strong recovery from the crisis has benefited from structural strengths of the economy: a flexible labour force, business friendly regulation, well capitalised financial institutions, a successful transition from the currency board to euro area membership (2011) and sustained credibility of fiscal policy. Nevertheless, the Estonian economy is exposed to considerable volatility which could threaten growth, and the crisis has left behind a high rate of unemployment (however declining regularly at 8.4% in 2013 after 11.3% in 2012). Estonia is considered one of the most liberal economies in the world by the Heritage Foundation's 2010 Economic Freedom Index.
|Main Indicators||2011||2012||2013||2014||2015 (e)|
|GDP (billions USD)||22.82||22.67||24.89||26.36||27.41|
|GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change)||8.3||4.7||1.6e||1.2e||2.5|
|GDP per Capita (USD)||17,166||17,109||18||19,777e||20,572|
|General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP)||6.1||9.7||9.8e||10.2||10.4|
|Inflation Rate (%)||5.1||4.2||3.2e||0.8||1.5|
|Unemployment Rate (% of the Labor Force)||12.3||10.0||8.6||7.0||7.0|
|Current Account (billions USD)||-0.01||-0.47||-0.35||-0.57||-0.66|
|Current Account (in % of GDP)||-0.0||-2.1||-1.4e||-2.2||-2.4|
Source: IMF - World Economic Outlook Database , Last Available Data
Note: (e) Estimated Data
Agriculture accounts for only 3.9% of the GDP and employs 4.4% of the active population.
The industrial sector, which represented 30% of the GDP in 2013, employs 29.1% of Estonian workers. The main industrial sectors of Estonia are the food industry (dairy products and meat processing), which accounts for over 15% of the manufacturing industry, electronics & IT (a traditional sector), chemical industry (which accounts for 6% of the manufacturing industry) and wood processing industry (this sector accounts for over 20% of the manufacturing industry). The Estonian industrial sector was heavily affected by the economic crisis in 2008-2009 (-26.5%) and domestic and foreign demand were considerably reduced. Since then, the country has recover and the growth of its industrial sector is largely fuelled by the exportation to Finland and Sweden, countries representing more than 33% of Estonia total export.
The services sector is the most developed, in particular transport and logistics, biotechnology and financial services. The sector accounts for 66,1% of the GDP employing 66.5% of the Estonian population. The telecommunications sector is the most performing one. Estonia has the highest connexion percentage to the Internet and has even acquired the nickname of E-stonia for its advanced progress in equipment and Internet research and development.
|Breakdown of Economic Activity By Sector||Agriculture||Industry||Services|
|Employment By Sector (in % of Total Employment)||4.7||31.1||64.1|
|Value Added (in % of GDP)||3.6||28.9||67.5|
|Value Added (Annual % Change)||-3.9||1.4||2.8|
Source: World Bank - Last Available Data.
|Euro (EUR) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 USD||11.26||11.81||0.72||0.78||0.76|
Source: World Bank - Last Available Data.
The Economic freedom index measure ten components of economic freedom, grouped into four broad categories or pillars of economic freedom: Rule of Law (property rights, freedom from corruption); Limited Government (fiscal freedom, government spending); Regulatory Efficiency (business freedom, labor freedom, monetary freedom); and Open Markets (trade freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom). Each of the freedoms within these four broad categories is individually scored on a scale of 0 to 100. A country’s overall economic freedom score is a simple average of its scores on the 10 individual freedoms.
The business rankings model measures the quality or attractiveness of the business environment in the 82 countries covered by The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Country Forecast reports. It examines ten separate criteria or categories, covering the political environment, the macroeconomic environment, market opportunities, policy towards free enterprise and competition, policy towards foreign investment, foreign trade and exchange controls, taxes, financing, the labour market and infrastructure.
Despite the international economic crisis of 2008-2009, foreign trade's contribution to the GDP represented more than 150% in 2013. Rich in oil shale, a large part of Estonia's energy production is based on this resource (80%), which allows it to be energetically self-sufficient. Estonia is a net exporter of electricity, especially to Finland, Latvia and Lithuania. Exports increased by another 5% in 2013 in a country where 70% of the goods manufactured are exported.
The European Union countries still accounted for over 70% of Estonia's foreign trade in 2013 and the CIS countries accounted for just over 10% of the total exports. The main export trading partners of Estonia are: Sweden, Finland, Russia, other Baltic states, Germany and the United States. The main export goods are electrical and electronic equipment, wood and mineral products, metals, agricultural and food industry products, transport equipment, raw materials, textiles and electricity.
Its main import partners in 2013 were: Finland, Germany, Sweden, Lithuania, Latvia, Russia and Poland. Estonia mainly imports electric & electronic equipment, machinery, vehicles, mineral fuels (oil), iron and steel.
|Foreign Trade Indicators||2009||2010||2011||2012||2013|
|Imports of Goods (million USD)||10,139||12,266||17,638||17,411||18,154|
|Exports of Goods (million USD)||9,040||11,593||16,722||16,124||16,294|
|Imports of Services (million USD)||2,483||2,756||3,672||3,877||4,268|
|Exports of Services (million USD)||4,343||4,518||5,493||5,422||5,720|
|Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change)||-30.6||21.0||26.8||12.2||3.1|
|Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change)||-20.3||24.0||22.2||8.3||2.6|
|Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP)||55.9||68.8||82.5||88.2||85.2|
|Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP)||60.8||75.1||86.1||88.3||86.1|
|Trade Balance (million USD)||-938||-535||-853||-1,379||-1,337|
|Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD)||1,006||1,268||1,035||361||374|
|Foreign Trade (in % of GDP)||116.7||143.9||168.6||176.4||171.3|
Source: WTO - World Trade Organization ; World Bank , Last Available Data
(% of Exports)
|See More Countries||38.4%|
(% of Imports)
|See More Countries||56.0%|
Source: Comtrade, Last Available Data
|- bn USD of products exported in 2013|
|Electrical apparatus for line telephony or line...Electrical apparatus for line telephony or line telegraphy, incl. line telephone sets with cordless handsets and telecommunication apparatus for carrier-current line systems or for digital line systems; videophones; parts thereof||9.6%|
|Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals||7.3%|
|Insulated incl. enamelled or anodised wire, cable...Insulated incl. enamelled or anodised wire, cable incl. coaxial cable and other insulated electric conductors, whether or not fitted with connectors; optical fibre cables, made-up of individually sheathed fibres, whether or not assembled with electric conductors or fitted with connectors||2.0%|
|Electrical energyElectrical energy||2.0%|
|Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally...Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, incl. station wagons and racing cars (excl. motor vehicles of heading 8702)||1.7%|
|See More Products||77.4%|
|- bn USD of products imported in 2013|
|Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals||10.7%|
|Electrical apparatus for line telephony or line...Electrical apparatus for line telephony or line telegraphy, incl. line telephone sets with cordless handsets and telecommunication apparatus for carrier-current line systems or for digital line systems; videophones; parts thereof||4.5%|
|Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally...Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, incl. station wagons and racing cars (excl. motor vehicles of heading 8702)||3.8%|
|Electronic integrated circuits and microassembliesElectronic integrated circuits and microassemblies||2.2%|
|New pneumatic tyres, of rubberNew pneumatic tyres, of rubber||1.7%|
|See More Products||77.1%|
Source: Comtrade, Last Available Data
|- bn USD of services exported in 2011|
|Sea transportSea transport||15.74%|
|Road transportRoad transport||10.54%|
|Rail transportRail transport||9.83%|
|Air transportAir transport||2.84%|
|Personal travelPersonal travel||18.43%|
|Education-related expenditureEducation-related expenditure||0.38%|
|Health-related expenditureHealth-related expenditure||0.20%|
|Business travelBusiness travel||4.87%|
|Miscellaneous business,...Miscellaneous business, professional, and technical services||14.45%|
|Other business servicesOther business services||5.53%|
|Legal, accounting, management...Legal, accounting, management consulting, and public relations||4.21%|
|Business and management...Business and management consulting and public relations services||3.27%|
|Accounting, auditing,...Accounting, auditing, bookkeeping, and tax consulting services||0.53%|
|Legal servicesLegal services||0.41%|
|Advertising, market research,...Advertising, market research, and public opinion polling||2.61%|
|Architectural, engineering,...Architectural, engineering, and other technical services||1.15%|
|Research and developmentResearch and development||0.93%|
|Agricultural, mining, and...Agricultural, mining, and on-site processing services||0.02%|
|Waste treatment and...Waste treatment and depollution||0.01%|
|Operational leasing servicesOperational leasing services||2.89%|
|Merchanting and other trade-related...Merchanting and other trade-related services||1.87%|
|Construction abroadConstruction abroad||5.84%|
|Construction in the compiling...Construction in the compiling economy||0.33%|
|Computer servicesComputer services||4.25%|
|Information servicesInformation services||0.27%|
|Telecommunications servicesTelecommunications services||4.17%|
|Postal and courier servicesPostal and courier services||0.20%|
|Franchises and similar rightsFranchises and similar rights||0.02%|
|Auxiliary servicesAuxiliary services||0.05%|
|Other direct insuranceOther direct insurance||0.02%|
|- bn USD of services imported in 2011|
|Sea transportSea transport||12.61%|
|Road transportRoad transport||9.06%|
|Air transportAir transport||7.42%|
|Rail transportRail transport||3.79%|
|Personal travelPersonal travel||15.99%|
|Education-related expenditureEducation-related expenditure||1.40%|
|Health-related expenditureHealth-related expenditure||0.22%|
|Business travelBusiness travel||6.03%|
|Miscellaneous business,...Miscellaneous business, professional, and technical services||15.61%|
|Legal, accounting, management...Legal, accounting, management consulting, and public relations||5.34%|
|Business and management...Business and management consulting and public relations services||4.78%|
|Accounting, auditing,...Accounting, auditing, bookkeeping, and tax consulting services||0.32%|
|Legal servicesLegal services||0.25%|
|Other business servicesOther business services||4.76%|
|Architectural, engineering,...Architectural, engineering, and other technical services||3.41%|
|Advertising, market research,...Advertising, market research, and public opinion polling||1.73%|
|Research and developmentResearch and development||0.35%|
|Agricultural, mining, and...Agricultural, mining, and on-site processing services||0.01%|
|Operational leasing servicesOperational leasing services||6.20%|
|Construction in the compiling...Construction in the compiling economy||6.17%|
|Construction abroadConstruction abroad||0.63%|
|Telecommunications servicesTelecommunications services||5.92%|
|Postal and courier servicesPostal and courier services||0.27%|
|Computer servicesComputer services||3.57%|
|Information servicesInformation services||0.37%|
|Franchises and similar rightsFranchises and similar rights||0.37%|
|Other direct insuranceOther direct insurance||0.06%|
|Auxiliary servicesAuxiliary services||0.04%|
|Freight insuranceFreight insurance||0.01%|
Source: Comtrade, Last Available Data
For some information about political parties, the following website of the Parliament should be visited: http://www.riigikogu.ee.
The world rankings, published annually, measures the violations of press freedom worldwide. It reflects the degree of freedom enjoyed by journalists, the media and digital citizens of each country and the means used by states to respect and uphold this freedom. Finally, a note and a position are assigned to each country. To compile this index, Reporters Without Borders (RWB) prepared a questionnaire sent to partner organizations,150 RWB correspondents, journalists, researchers, jurists and activists of human rights, including the main criteria - 44 in total - to assess the situation of press freedom in a given country. It includes every kind of direct attacks against journalists and digital citizens (murders, imprisonment, assault, threats, etc.) or against the media (censorship, confiscation, searches and harassment etc.).
The Indicator of Political Freedom provides an annual evaluation of the state of freedom in a country as experienced by individuals. The survey measures freedom according to two broad categories: political rights and civil liberties. The ratings process is based on a checklist of 10 political rights questions (on Electoral Process, Political Pluralism and Participation, Functioning of Government) and 15 civil liberties questions (on Freedom of Expression, Belief, Associational and Organizational Rights, Rule of Law, Personal Autonomy and Individual Rights). Scores are awarded to each of these questions on a scale of 0 to 4, where a score of 0 represents the smallest degree and 4 the greatest degree of rights or liberties present. The total score awarded to the political rights and civil liberties checklist determines the political rights and civil liberties rating. Each rating of 1 through 7, with 1 representing the highest and 7 the lowest level of freedom, corresponds to a range of total scores.
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