Europe :: Estonia

Introduction ::Estonia

    After centuries of Danish, Swedish, German, and Russian rule, Estonia attained independence in 1918. Forcibly incorporated into the USSR in 1940 - an action never recognized by the US - it regained its freedom in 1991 with the collapse of the Soviet Union. Since the last Russian troops left in 1994, Estonia has been free to promote economic and political ties with the West. It joined both NATO and the EU in the spring of 2004, formally joined the OECD in late 2010, and adopted the euro as its official currency on 1 January 2011.

Geography ::Estonia

    Eastern Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea and Gulf of Finland, between Latvia and Russia
    59 00 N, 26 00 E
    total: 45,228 sq km
    country comparison to the world: 133
    land: 42,388 sq km
    water: 2,840 sq km
    note: includes 1,520 islands in the Baltic Sea
    slightly smaller than New Hampshire and Vermont combined
    total: 633 km
    border countries: Latvia 343 km, Russia 290 km
    3,794 km
    territorial sea: 12 nm
    exclusive economic zone: limits fixed in coordination with neighboring states
    maritime; wet, moderate winters, cool summers
    marshy, lowlands; flat in the north, hilly in the south
    lowest point: Baltic Sea 0 m
    highest point: Suur Munamagi 318 m
    oil shale, peat, rare earth elements, phosphorite, clay, limestone, sand, dolomite, arable land, sea mud
    arable land: 13.97%
    permanent crops: 0.13%
    other: 85.89% (2011)
    4.58 sq km (2010)
    12.81 cu km (2011)
    total: 1.8 cu km/yr (3%/97%/0%)
    per capita: 1,337 cu m/yr (2009)
    sometimes flooding occurs in the spring
    air polluted with sulfur dioxide from oil-shale burning power plants in northeast; however, the amount of pollutants emitted to the air have fallen steadily, the emissions of 2000 were 80% less than in 1980; the amount of unpurified wastewater discharged to water bodies in 2000 was 1/20 the level of 1980; in connection with the start-up of new water purification plants, the pollution load of wastewater decreased; Estonia has more than 1,400 natural and manmade lakes, the smaller of which in agricultural areas need to be monitored; coastal seawater is polluted in certain locations
    party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulfur 85, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
    signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
    the mainland terrain is flat, boggy, and partly wooded; offshore lie more than 1,500 islands

People and Society ::Estonia

Government ::Estonia

    conventional long form: Republic of Estonia
    conventional short form: Estonia
    local long form: Eesti Vabariik
    local short form: Eesti
    former: Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic
    parliamentary republic
    name: Tallinn
    geographic coordinates: 59 26 N, 24 43 E
    time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
    daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
    15 counties (maakonnad, singular - maakond); Harjumaa (Tallinn), Hiiumaa (Kardla), Ida-Virumaa (Johvi), Jarvamaa (Paide), Jogevamaa (Jogeva), Laanemaa (Haapsalu), Laane-Virumaa (Rakvere), Parnumaa (Parnu), Polvamaa (Polva), Raplamaa (Rapla), Saaremaa (Kuressaare), Tartumaa (Tartu), Valgamaa (Valga), Viljandimaa (Viljandi), Vorumaa (Voru)
    note: counties have the administrative center name following in parentheses
    20 August 1991 (declared); 6 September 1991 (recognized by the Soviet Union)
    Independence Day, 24 February (1918); note - 24 February 1918 was the date Estonia declared its independence from Soviet Russia and established its statehood; 20 August 1991 was the date it declared its independence from the Soviet Union
    adopted 28 June 1992
    civil law system
    accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
    18 years of age; universal for all Estonian citizens
    chief of state: President Toomas Hendrik ILVES (since 9 October 2006)
    head of government: Prime Minister Andrus ANSIP (since 12 April 2005)
    cabinet: Ministers appointed by the prime minister, approved by Parliament
    (For more information visit the World Leaders website Opens in New Window)
    elections: president elected by Parliament for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); if a candidate does not secure two-thirds of the votes after three rounds of balloting in the Parliament, then an electoral assembly (made up of Parliament plus members of local councils) elects the president, choosing between the two candidates with the largest number of votes; election last held on 29 August 2011 (next to be held in the fall of 2016); prime minister nominated by the president and approved by Parliament
    election results: Toomas Hendrik ILVES reelected president; parliamentary vote - Toomas Hendrik ILVES 73, Indrek TARAND 25
    unicameral Parliament or Riigikogu (101 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
    elections: last held on 6 March 2011 (next to be held in March 2015)
    election results: percent of vote by party - Estonian Reform Party 28.6%, Center Party of Estonia 23.3%, IRL 20.5%, SDE 17.1%, Estonian Greens 3.8%, Estonian People's Union 2.1%, other 4.6%; seats by party - Estonian Reform Party 33, Center Party 21, IRL 23, SDE 19, unaffiliated 5
    highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of the chief justice and organized into the Civil Chamber with a chamber chairman and 6 justices, the Criminal Chamber with a chamber chairman and 5 justices, the Administrative Law Chamber with a chamber chairman and 4 justices, and the Constitutional Review Chamber with 9 members - the chief justice and 2 justices from the Civil Chamber, 3 from the Criminal Chamber and 3 from the Administrative chamber)
    judge selection and term of office: the chief justice is proposed by the president and appointed by the Riigikogu; other justices proposed by the chief justice and appointed by the Riigikogu; justices appointed for life
    subordinate courts: circuit (appellate) courts; administrative, county, city, and specialized courts
    Center Party of Estonia (Keskerakond) [Edgar SAVISAAR]
    Estonian Greens (Rohelised) [Aleksander LAANE]
    Estonian Conservative People's Party (Konservatiivne Rahvaerakond) or EKRE [Margo MILJAND]
    Estonian Reform Party (Reformierakond) [Andrus ANSIP]
    Social Democratic Party or SDE [Sven MIKSER]
    Union of Pro Patria and Res Publica (Isamaa je Res Publica Liit) or IRL [Urmas REINSALU]
    Australia Group, BA, BIS, CBSS, CD, CE, EAPC, EBRD, ECB, EIB, EMU, ESA (cooperating state), EU, FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICRM, IDA, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, NATO, NIB, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OIF (observer), OPCW, OSCE, PCA, Schengen Convention, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNTSO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
    chief of mission: Ambassador Marina KALJURAND
    chancery: 2131 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
    telephone: [1] (202) 588-0101
    FAX: [1] (202) 588-0108
    consulate(s) general: New York
    chief of mission: Ambassador Jeffrey LEVINE
    embassy: Kentmanni 20, 15099 Tallinn
    mailing address: use embassy street address
    telephone: [372] 668-8100
    FAX: [372] 668-8134
    three equal horizontal bands of blue (top), black, and white; various interpretations are linked to the flag colors; blue represents faith, loyalty, and devotion, while also reminiscent of the sky, sea, and lakes of the country; black symbolizes the soil of the country and the dark past and suffering endured by the Estonian people; white refers to the striving towards enlightenment and virtue, and is the color of birch bark and snow, as well as summer nights illuminated by the midnight sun
    barn swallow, cornflower
    name: "Mu isamaa, mu onn ja room" (My Native Land, My Pride and Joy)

    lyrics/music: Johann Voldemar JANNSEN/Fredrik PACIUS
    note: adopted 1920, though banned between 1940 and 1990 under Soviet occupation; the anthem, used in Estonia since 1869, shares the same melody with that of Finland but has different lyrics

Economy ::Estonia

    Estonia, a member of the European Union and the eurozone since 2004, has a modern market-based economy and one of the higher per capita income levels in Central Europe and the Baltic region. Estonia's successive governments have pursued a free market, pro-business economic agenda and have wavered little in their commitment to pro-market reforms. The current government has followed sound fiscal policies that have resulted in balanced budgets and low public debt. The economy benefits from strong electronics and telecommunications sectors and strong trade ties with Finland, Sweden, Russia, and Germany. Tallinn's priority has been to sustain high growth rates - on average 8% per year from 2003 to 2007. Estonia's economy fell into recession in mid-2008 with GDP contracting 14.3% in 2009, as a result of an investment and consumption slump following the bursting of the real estate market bubble and a decrease in export demand as result of economic slowdown in the rest of Europe. Estonia rebounded nearly 8% in 2011 and the Estonian economy now has one of the higher GDP growth rates in Europe. Estonia adopted the euro on 1 January 2011.
    $29.57 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 113
    $28.64 billion (2011 est.)
    $26.45 billion (2010 est.)
    note: data are in 2012 US dollars
    $21.86 billion (2012 est.)
    3.2% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 103
    8.3% (2011 est.)
    3.3% (2010 est.)
    $22,100 (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 66
    $21,400 (2011 est.)
    $19,700 (2010 est.)
    note: data are in 2012 US dollars
    24.1% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 50
    26.9% of GDP (2011 est.)
    23.1% of GDP (2010 est.)
    household consumption: 50.1%
    government consumption: 18.8%
    investment in fixed capital: 24.5%
    investment in inventories: 5.8%
    exports of goods and services: 89.1%
    imports of goods and services: -88.3%
    (2012 est.)
    agriculture: 3.9%
    industry: 29.7%
    services: 66.4% (2012 est.)
    grain, potatoes, vegetables; livestock and dairy products; fish
    engineering, electronics, wood and wood products, textiles; information technology, telecommunications
    2.2% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 95
    695,000 (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 152
    agriculture: 4.2%
    industry: 20.2%
    services: 75.6% (2010)
    10.2% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 109
    12.5% (2011 est.)
    17.5% (2010)
    lowest 10%: 2.7%
    highest 10%: 27.7% (2004)
    31.3 (2010)
    country comparison to the world: 108
    37 (1999)
    revenues: $8.144 billion
    expenditures: $8.201 billion (2012 est.)
    37.2% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 56
    -0.3% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 53
    5.7% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 150
    5.9% of GDP (2011 est.)
    note: data cover general government debt, and includes debt instruments issued (or owned) by government entities, including sub-sectors of central government, state government, local government, and social security funds
    calendar year
    3.9% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 121
    5% (2011 est.)
    8% (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 139
    6.12% (31 December 2011 est.)
    $8.104 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 82
    $6.744 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    note: this figure represents the US dollar value of Estonian kroon in circulation prior to Estonia's joining the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU); see entry for the European Union for money supply in the euro area; the European Central Bank (ECB) controls monetary policy for the 17 members of the EMU; individual members of the EMU do not control the quantity of money circulating within their own borders
    $12.11 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 99
    $11.73 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $19.04 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 85
    $19.14 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $1.611 billion (31 December 2011)
    country comparison to the world: 97
    $2.26 billion (31 December 2010)
    $2.654 billion (31 December 2009)
    $498 million (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 47
    $477 million (2011 est.)
    $16.16 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 78
    $16.78 billion (2011 est.)
    machinery and electrical equipment 21%, wood and wood products 9%, metals 9%, furniture 7%, vehicles and parts 5%, food products and beverages 4%, textiles 4%, plastics 3%
    Sweden 16.8%, Finland 15.3%, Russia 12.7%, Latvia 9.2%, Lithuania 5.7%, Germany 4.8% (2012)
    $17.05 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 83
    $17.09 billion (2011 est.)
    machinery and electrical equipment, mineral fuels, chemical products, foodstuffs, plastics, textiles
    Finland 15.1%, Germany 10.7%, Sweden 10.7%, Latvia 10%, Lithuania 9%, Poland 6.6%, China 4.4%, Russia 4.1% (2012)
    $246.4 million (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 156
    $207.5 million (31 December 2011 est.)
    $25.55 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 77
    $25.01 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $17.45 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 70
    $16.65 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $6.609 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 61
    $7.359 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    kroon (EEK) per US dollar -
    0.778 (2012 est.)
    0.72 (2011 est.)
    11.81 (2010 est.)
    11.23 (2009)
    10.7 (2008)

Energy ::Estonia

Communications ::Estonia

    471,900 (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 101
    1.863 million (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 142
    general assessment: foreign investment in the form of joint business ventures greatly improved telephone service with a wide range of high quality voice, data, and Internet services available
    domestic: substantial fiber-optic cable systems carry telephone, TV, and radio traffic in the digital mode; Internet services are widely available; schools and libraries are connected to the Internet, a large percentage of the population files income-tax returns online, and online voting was used for the first time in the 2005 local elections
    international: country code - 372; fiber-optic cables to Finland, Sweden, Latvia, and Russia provide worldwide packet-switched service; 2 international switches are located in Tallinn (2011)
    the publicly owned broadcaster, Eesti Rahvusringhaaling (ERR), operates 2 TV channels and 5 radio networks; growing number of private commercial radio stations broadcasting nationally, regionally, and locally; fully transitioned to digital television in 2010; national private TV channels expanding service; a range of channels are aimed at Russian-speaking viewers; high penetration rate for cable TV services with more than half of Estonian households connected (2008)
    865,494 (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 49
    971,700 (2009)
    country comparison to the world: 102

Transportation ::Estonia

    18 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 141
    total: 13
    over 3,047 m: 2
    2,438 to 3,047 m: 8
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
    914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2013)
    total: 5
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
    914 to 1,523 m: 1
    under 914 m:
    3 (2013)
    1 (2012)
    gas 868 km (2013)
    total: 1,196 km
    country comparison to the world: 85
    broad gauge: 1,196 km 1.520-m and 1.524-m gauge (133 km electrified) (2011)
    total: 58,412 km (includes urban roads)
    country comparison to the world: 75
    paved: 10,427 km (includes 115 km of expressways)
    unpaved: 47,985 km (2011)
    335 km (320 km are navigable year round) (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 91
    total: 25
    country comparison to the world: 89
    by type: cargo 4, chemical tanker 1, passenger/cargo 18, petroleum tanker 2
    foreign-owned: 3 (Germany 1, Norway 2)
    registered in other countries: 63 (Antigua and Barbuda 10, Belize 1, Cambodia 1, Canada 1, Cook Islands 1, Cyprus 6, Dominica 6, Finland 2, Latvia 3, Malta 16, Russia 1, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 8, Sierra Leone 2, Sweden 3, Venezuela 1, unknown 1) (2010)
    major seaport(s): Kuivastu, Kunda, Muuga, Parnu Reid, Sillamae, Tallinn

Military ::Estonia

Transnational Issues ::Estonia

    Russia and Estonia in May 2005 signed a technical border agreement, but Russia in June 2005 recalled its signature after the Estonian parliament added to its domestic ratification act a historical preamble referencing the Soviet occupation and Estonia's pre-war borders under the 1920 Treaty of Tartu; Russia contends that the preamble allows Estonia to make territorial claims on Russia in the future, while Estonian officials deny that the preamble has any legal impact on the treaty text; Russia demands better treatment of the Russian-speaking population in Estonia; as a member state that forms part of the EU's external border, Estonia implements strict Schengen border rules with Russia
    stateless persons: 94,235 (2012); note - after becoming independent in 1991, automatic citizenship was restricted to those who were Estonian citizens prior to the 1990 Soviet occupation and their descendants; thousands of ethnic Russians remained stateless when forced to choose between passing Estonian language and citizenship tests or applying for Russian citizenship; one reason for demurring on Estonian citizenship was to retain the right of visa-free travel to Russia; stateless residents can vote in local elections but not general elections; stateless parents who have been lawful residents of Estonia for at least five years can apply for citizenship for their children before they turn 15
    growing producer of synthetic drugs; increasingly important transshipment zone for cannabis, cocaine, opiates, and synthetic drugs since joining the European Union and the Schengen Accord; potential money laundering related to organized crime and drug trafficking is a concern, as is possible use of the gambling sector to launder funds; major use of opiates and ecstasy