Why is Estonia important to the EU

Estonia - Eesti

In 1991 Estonia regained its national independence

Estonia in numbers (Eurostat, 2019)

surface: 45,227 square kilometers
Residents: 1.3 million
Activity rate: 75.3 percent
Unemployment rate: 4.4 percent
Average Gross annual earnings (manufacturing): EUR 3,891
gross domestic product (2019): EUR 28,112 million
gross domestic product (2019, per capita in PPS): 26,000 PPS
Change in GDP (in relation to the previous year): + 5.0 percent
inflation rate (2019): 2.3 percent
State budget balance (as a percentage of GDP): - 0.3 percent
National debt (as a percentage of GDP): 8.4 percent

Member of the European Parliament (from May 26, 2019): 6
Voices in the EU Council of Ministers (from November 1, 2014): 4
Estonia has been an EU member state since 2004.

In 1991, Estonia regained its national independence. The new state constitution came into force on July 3, 1992 after a referendum. Estonia thus became a parliamentary democracy.

The legislative power lies with the "Riigikogu" parliament, which consists of only one chamber. Like the government, it can propose legislation. The 101 MPs are elected for a four-year term using proportional representation. Every citizen over the age of 18 is entitled to vote.

The head of state is the President of the Republic, who is elected by Parliament for four years. He represents the state, is the commander in chief of the armed forces and also has wide-ranging powers. Bills passed by Parliament can only come into force after being signed by the President. He appoints the members of the government and submits his proposals to Parliament for the appointment of the Chairman of the Supreme Court. He can also propose constitutional amendments to Parliament. Under certain conditions, the President has the power to dissolve Parliament.

The prime minister is appointed by the president and confirmed by parliament before the new government is formed. The President of the Republic can dismiss ministers on the proposal of the Prime Minister. The ministers are personally responsible to parliament.

Parliament can pass a referendum on any matter that it believes is important.

Administratively, the country is divided into 15 counties, headed by a government-appointed governor. In addition, Estonia is divided into 79 self-governing units (vald) (15 cities and 64 municipalities).

The capital and seat of government is Tallinn.

As in other Eastern European countries, the Estonian economy collapsed to a large extent after the upheavals in Eastern Europe in the early 1990s. Not least because of consistent economic reforms, however, there has been a steady upswing for a number of years.

The economic development is mainly driven by trade and the service industry, which currently already contribute around two thirds of the total gross domestic product (GDP). Estonian industry, on the other hand, has shrunk significantly during the reform process and now generates less than 20% of GDP. The most important Estonian industries are the food industry, textiles and clothing, and wood production.

The privatization process is proceeding rapidly in Estonia. After all, 60 percent of the total gross domestic product was generated by private companies in 1995. The privatization of large companies is also well advanced.

Agriculture has traditionally been one of the most important sectors of the Estonian economy. A few years ago it produced 20% of the total economic output, today it only generates around 8 percent of gross value added and employs 7 percent of the workforce.

In 1997, Estonia's most important export goods included plant and equipment (16 percent), agricultural products (14 percent), textiles (13 percent), wood and wood products (12 percent). In recent years, Estonia has consistently geared its foreign trade towards the Western European markets; Today it conducts over two thirds of its foreign trade with the European Union. The country's most important trading partners are Finland with a share of 25 percent of total foreign trade and the Russian Federation with a share of 20 percent.

An important locational advantage of Estonia is its deep and in winter almost ice-free harbors.

The national currency was the Estonian kroon (EEK).

With an area of ​​45,227 km², Estonia is the smallest and northernmost of the three Baltic republics. The longest extension from east to west is 350 km and from north to south 240 km.

Estonia borders the Baltic Sea and has only two neighbors: Latvia in the south and the Russian Federation in the east. Accordingly, at 3 794 km, the coast is many times longer than the national borders, which are only 633 km in total. Estonia's neighbors across the Baltic Sea are Sweden and Finland, which is only 80 km across the Gulf of Finland.

The Estonian landscape is dominated by water: sea, lakes and swamps. Over 1,400 lakes and 1,500 islands - the largest are Saaremaa with 2,634 km² and Hiiumaa with 989 km² - characterize the picture.

Forests cover 43 percent of the country's area. This makes Estonia one of the most densely forested countries in Europe.

The Baltic state also has the highest elevation of the largely very flat Baltic region: the Suur-Munamägi, which reaches a height of just 318 m.

Estonia has around 1.3 million inhabitants and the population density is very low for Europe at 28 inhabitants / km².

The population is very unevenly distributed in the country. Around 70% of all Estonians live in cities. Almost a third (420,000) of the Estonian population lives in the capital Tallinn alone.

The population of Estonia consists mainly of two ethnic groups: 69 percent are Estonians and 25 percent are Russians. Less than 2 percent are Ukrainians. Belarusians, Finns, Germans and others make up the remaining 4 percent.

The largest Estonian religious community is the Evangelical Lutheran Church. Due to the high Russian proportion of the total population, the Orthodox Church is also important.

The official language is Estonian.