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Estonia country profile

27 August 2006
by eub2 -- last modified 05 June 2012

Estonia, the most northerly of the Baltic states, regained its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. Estonia became a member of the European Union on 1 May 2004.


Eesti Vabariik

Estonia, the most northerly of the Baltic states, regained its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. It is a mainly flat country on the eastern shores of the Baltic Sea, with many lakes and islands. Much of the land is farmed or forested.

The Estonian language is closely related to Finnish, but bears no resemblance to the languages of the other Baltic republics, Latvia and Lithuania, or to Russian. About one quarter of the population is of Russian-speaking origin.

The capital, Tallinn, is one of the best-preserved mediaeval cities in Europe, and tourism accounts for 15% of Estonian GDP. The main sectors of the economy are engineering, food products, metals, chemicals and wood products.

Throughout history, many other nations who ruled the region – Danes, Germans, Swedes, Poles and Russians – have influenced Estonian cuisine. Among the traditional dishes are marinated eel, blood sausage and sauerkraut stew with pork.

Famous Estonians include the writer Jaan Kross whose work has been translated into 20 languages, the author of the national epic (Kalevipoeg) Friedrich Reinhold Kreutzwald, and the writer, film-maker, diplomat and politician Lennart Meri.

Official name: Republic of Estonia

Area (km2): 45 000

Population: 1.27 million (July 2012 est.)

Capital: Tallinn

National holiday: 24 February

Currency: Estonian Kroon

Date of joining: 01 May 2004

Head of state: Toomas Hendrik Ilves, since October 2006

Head of government: Andrus Ansip, since April 2005. He presides over a coalition government between liberals from the Reform Party and conservatives from the Union of Pro Patria and Res Publica (IRL).

GDP (millions €): 15 859 (2008); 14 219 (forecast for 2009)

GDP per capita in PPS: € 16 900 (2008)

Real growth rate of GDP: 7.9% (2011 est.); 2.3% (2010 est.)

Unemployment rate: 12.1% (2011 est.); 16.9% (2010 est.)

National debt as % of GDP: 5.8% (2011 est.); 6.7% (2010 est.)

Inflation: 5.1% (2011 est.); 3% (2010 est.)

Public deficit/surplus as % of GDP: -0.7% (2011 est.)

Source: Eurostat




Head of State:

Head of Government:


Foreign Minister:



Map of Estonia



Source: European Commission, Spanish EU Presidency


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