Economy

Circle K to begin selling ethanol-free gasoline

19.01.21 NEWS ... To meet the demand of Estonian consumers, fuel company Circle K will begin selling ethanol-free fuels in all of its gas stations by March.

Alcohol industry welcomes Reform-Center 'tax peace'

19.01.21 NEWS ... Estonian alcohol industry lobby groups have welcomed a proposed 'tax peace' put on the table in ongoing coalition discussions between the Reform and Center parties as a way to normalize a sector hit by the coronavirus crisis.

International students, graduates paid over €13 million in tax in 2019/2020

19.01.21 NEWS ... Working international students and graduates paid more than €13 million in tax during the academic year 2019/2020, an analysis by Statistics Estonia shows.

Several COVID-19 restrictions eased in Harju, Ida-Viru counties from Monday

18.01.21 NEWS ... Restrictions on restaurants, cafes, hobby education and museums put in place in December to limit the spread of coronavirus in Harju and Ida-Viru counties will be relaxed from today (January 18).

State looking for mining compromise with locals

17.01.21 NEWS ... A bigger part of mining fees could go to local governments where raw materials are located. Jõelähtme Municipality and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications will put together a set of rules to facilitate agreement between locals, mining companies and the state by year's end.

Nearly 300 solar power plants of various sizes set up in 2020

16.01.21 NEWS ... State-owned Eesti Energia group alone established close to 300 solar power plants for its clients with a total capacity of eight MW through 2020, Baltic News Service reports. Options are available for private individuals to generate solar power via panels installed on their property, then sell any surplus.

Reform leader: We want to rip up US lawyer representation deal

16.01.21 NEWS ... A controversial deal which saw big-league US lawyer and former FBI director Louis Freeh hired to represent Estonia in money laundering hearings may be in jeopardy, Reform leader Kaja Kallas says.

Local governments table EU fund use proposals

15.01.21 NEWS ... Proposals from over 20 local governments on the use of European Union funds have been made for 2021 onward, in conjunction with the finance ministry. Regional development is reportedly a major focus in the coming budgetary strategy period.

Businessman: Tsarist-era Patarei development loan hopefully back on table

15.01.21 NEWS ... Businessman Urmas Sõõrumaa says that he is hopeful of his chances of getting a €40-million loan from state credit provider KredEx, following the entry into office of a new coalition, once that happens. Sõõrumaa's KredEx loan application, to redevelop the historical Patarei fortress in Tallinn, was rejected last year, but without a KredEx loan soon, the project may have to wait another decade, he says.

Sandor Liive appointed RB Rail supervisory board chair

14.01.21 NEWS ... Sandor Liive has been appointed chair of RB Rail AS, the infrastructure dimension of the planned Rail Baltica high-speed rail link.

State secretary tasked with Porto Franco inquiry committee

14.01.21 NEWS ... The government has tasked state secretary Taimar Peterkop with setting up a committee of inquiry into the circumstances of a loan granted to a Tallinn real estate development by state credit agency KredEx. Revelations Tuesday that KredEx was subject to a security services investigation, with the Center Party's secretary-general named one of five suspects, directly led to Jüri Ratas' (Center) resignation as prime minister.

Porto Franco suspects Teder and Kracht placed under arrest

14.01.21 NEWS ... Businessman Hillar Teder and former finance ministry adviser Kersti Kracht have been placed under arrest in connection with the alleged corruption activities centered on a central Tallinn real estate development which led to the resignation of Jüri Rats (Center) as prime minister.

EBRD withdraws Porto Franco €63-million loan

13.01.21 NEWS ... The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) says that it will not be granting a loan to a Tallinn real estate development at the heart of a scandal which saw Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center) resign early Wednesday morning, Baltic News Service reports.

Tallinn Mayor also questioned in Porto Franco investigation

13.01.21 NEWS ... Tallinn Mayor Mihhail Kõlvart (Center) has been questioned in regard to a real estate loan scandal which led to the resignation of Jüri Ratas (Center) as prime minister early on Wednesday. Tallinn City Government's offices have also been subject of a search by the Internal Security Service (ISS).

Finance minister: EKRE has never benefited financially from decisions

12.01.21 NEWS ... Finance minister and Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) leader Martin Helme said on Tuesday that his party has never received money or any other rewards, following corruption allegations made surrounding a loan to a major Tallinn real estate development.

Center Secretary-General, four others suspects in Porto Franco ISS probe

12.01.21 NEWS ... The Public Prosecutor's Office says it suspects five people, and the coalition Center Party, of criminal involvement in the Porto Franco real estate case. Among the five people Secretary General of the Center Party Mihhail Korb, adviser to the Minister of Finance Kersti Kracht and businessman Hillar Teder.

Fuel prices rise again in Estonia

12.01.21 NEWS ... The cost of fuel in Estonia has risen again after major retailers upped prices Tuesday.

Q4 2020 Party finances: Center largest donor recipients

12.01.21 NEWS ... Party finances for the fourth quarter of 2020 (Q4 2020) have been reported for all five parties represented at the Riigikogu, along with those of the non-parliamentary Estonian Greens. The coalition Center Party once again took in the largest amount of donations at close to €220,000, while opposition Reform Party received the largest amount in state subsidy, at a little under €450,000.

Statistics: Number of accommodated tourists fell by half in November

11.01.21 NEWS ... Tourists who stayed in overnight accommodation in Estonia fell by 55 percent in November 2020 compared to the same time period in 2019, data from Statistics Estonia shows. Foreign tourists declined by 90 percent.

Statistics: Import of goods on the rise again

11.01.21 NEWS ... According to data from Statistics Estonia (Statistikaamet), in November 2020, the exports of goods increased by 9% and imports by 7% from November 2019. Trade with non-EU countries saw the largest increase year-on-year.

Labor inspectorate: Nearly 20 percent fall in workplace accidents in 2020

08.01.21 NEWS ... Occupational accidents in Estonia fell by nearly 20 percent on year to 2020, the Labor Inspectorate (Tööinspektsioon) says. The figure for occupational-related deaths also fell.

First Moderna COVID-19 vaccines due in Estonia next week

08.01.21 NEWS ... The first batch of coronavirus vaccines made by United States biotech firm Moderna are set to arrive in Estonia next week.

Minister: State does not need to support Nordica any further

08.01.21 NEWS ... Minister of Economic Affairs and Communications Taavi Aas (Center) confirmed that state airline Nordica's acquisition of subsidiary Xfly came at no cost to the taxpayer. Aas added that if Nordica acts reasonably going forward, the state does not have to support the company any more.

Denmark drops money laundering charges against six Danske Bank suspects

08.01.21 NEWS ... Denmark's prosecutor's office says it is not charging six former Danske Bank employees with money laundering activities. Danske's Estonian branch was forced to close in 2019 after large scale flows of potentially illicit funds were thought to have passed through the bank over a period of several years.

Statistics: Port of Tallinn cargo flows reached five-year high in 2020

08.01.21 NEWS ... Port of Tallinn cargo through-flows rose by 7 percent to 21.3 million tonnes in 2020, despite the pandemic, also a five-year high. Over the same period, passenger through-flow fell by nearly 60 percent.

University of Tartu may have to return €1.5 million in new IT house support

08.01.21 NEWS ... The University of Tartu must pay back €1.5 million in support used for building an IT center which opened nearly a year ago, due to violations of public procurement law, the Ministry of Finance says. The university rejects this, saying its procurement process was in line with requirements.

Consumer price index decreased by 0.4 percent in 2020

08.01.21 NEWS ... Last year, the consumer price index decreased by 0.4 percent compared to the average of 2019, data from Statistics Estonia shows. Fuel prices declined the most while fresh fruit prices rose.

AK: 2,000 firms in Harju, Ida-Viru counties eligible for wage support

07.01.21 NEWS ... Approximately 2,000 firms in Harju and Ida-Viru counties who have been hit hardest by the coronavirus restrictions are eligible to apply for the latest round of state support, ETV news show "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK) reported Wednesday night. The support will help to cover labor costs, from the beginning of next month.

City of Tartu to grant nearly €773,000 in sports events support

06.01.21 NEWS ... Tartu is to support local sport to the tune of nearly three-quarters-of-a-million euros for 2021, Baltic New Service reports.

24,000 people apply to leave second pillar pension fund

06.01.21 NEWS ... By Wednesday morning, approximately 24,000 people had applied to leave the second pension pillar after reforms came into effect on January 1.

Applicants for latest Enterprise Estonia support see funding halved

06.01.21 NEWS ... Entrepreneurs have hit out at a move which has halved the amount of support due from state agency Enterprise Estonia for tourism businesses, a few days before the latest round was to open to applicants.

Fuel prices up slightly on pre-Christmas season levels

05.01.21 NEWS ... Fuel prices rose again on Monday, following the end of a holiday season price campaign. The price increase between mid-December and January 4 has only amounted to one cent, however.

Unemployment benefits rise significantly for 2021

05.01.21 NEWS ... Unemployment benefits in Estonia have risen for 2021, with the maximum level receivable over €400 per month higher than last year's figure. The minimum rate has also risen.

Minister: Natural population fall for 2020 regrettable

05.01.21 NEWS ... Minister of Population Affairs Riina Solman (Isamaa) has expressed dismay over recent statistics which suggest a fall in the rate of natural population growth for 2020.

Tallinn Airport passenger numbers fall to 2003 level

05.01.21 NEWS ... Last year, 863,585 passengers passed through Tallinn Airport which was only 26 percent of the number of passengers in 2019. The last time passenger volumes were so low was in 2003.

Tallink passenger figures down nearly 62 percent in 2020

05.01.21 NEWS ... Tallink Grupp's total passenger numbers fell by 61.8 percent on year in 2020, the company says, a development it called unsurprising given the pandemic. Cargo transport only fell a little over 5 percent, over the same period.

Hotels receive boost from domestic tourists over new year

05.01.21 NEWS ... Hotels outside of Harju County received a boost from domestic tourists over the new year as people sought to celebrate the turn of the year in areas with fewer restrictions.

Paper: 12,000 people applied to opt-out of pensions second pillar so far

05.01.21 NEWS ... Around 12,000 people have so far applied to take out funds from the Estonian pension scheme's second pillar, Õhtuleht writes.

Bank of Estonia: Estonians' savings increased during coronavirus crisis

04.01.21 NEWS ... Household savings totaled €10.3 billion at the end of November - an increase of €1 billion over the year despite the coronavirus crisis, data from the Bank of Estonia shows.

New €170-million electricity connection links Estonia and Latvia

03.01.21 NEWS ... A new electricity connection between Estonia and its southern neighbor Latvia has been completed. The connection was part-European Union funded, and represents part of an ongoing process of synchronization with the grid systems of the rest of the union, away from those of the Russian Federation.

European Commission transport chief: 2021 will see airline closures

03.01.21 NEWS ... The first months of 2021 will remain extremely difficult for airlines, with some closures likely and reduced travel opportunities as a result, Henrik Hololei, Director-General of the European Commission's Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport, told ERR Sunday.

AK: Coronavirus crisis brings new opportunities to small businesses in Võru

03.01.21 NEWS ... The coronavirus pandemic and its accompanying economic crisis has brought new life to some small businesses in the southeastern Estonian town of Võru, and even led to the creation of new ones, primarily cafes and stores, often set up by people who lost their previous livelihood as the pandemic spread, ETV news show "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK) reported Saturday evening.

Rail Baltica €5.8 million access track repair work starts

03.01.21 NEWS ... Repair of a section of rail track in southwest Estonia which will be used in the building of the planned high-speed Rail Baltica line will soon be underway. The work is largely funded by the European Union.

Law making sick pay due from day two of illness comes into effect

03.01.21 NEWS ... From January 1 this year, sick pay has been due from day two of a period of illness, following a legislative change late last year.

Tallink ends Victoria I Stockholm, Riga, Helsinki routes

02.01.21 NEWS ... Shipping line Tallink has suspended the operation of its Victoria I link to Stockholm and Riga, citing financial factors.

Next batch of coronavirus vaccines to arrive in Estonia in coming week

02.01.21 NEWS ... A second batch of nearly 10,000 Pfizer/Biontech coronavirus vaccines is due to arrive in Estonia next week.

Lithuania launches own national e-residency scheme

02.01.21 NEWS ... Lithuania is to launch an e-residency scheme in January, joining Estonia in providing a service which allows, among other things, foreign nationals to set up companies registered in that country, to open bank accounts, and to declare taxes online.

Transport administration starts work, merges three separate state agencies

02.01.21 NEWS ... A new transport agency has been set up to cover maritime and civil aviation, as well as road, transport in Estonia. These areas had previously been governed by separate state agencies.

Statistics: November retail trade performance stronger than previous year

31.12.20 NEWS ... Retail turnover increased 6 percent on year to November 2020, state agency Statistics Estonia reports.

KredEx launches Soviet-era apartment block refurbishment scheme

30.12.20 NEWS ... State credit agency KredEx is offering up to one million euros in support for refurbishment of Soviet-era apartment blocks. KredEx will also oversee the refurbishment work, which will involve prefabricated units being installed in buildings and including roofing and even external walls.
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