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Eesti in brief - 2012-11-29

Nov 28, 2012

The Estonian Health Insurance Fund (EHIF) completed the second reading of its budget for the next year, which contains changes ensuring a wage increase for medical staff that was agreed upon last month, reports Public Broadcasting. The expenditures of EHIF are planned at 841.3 million euros next year. The main priorities in next year’s budget are the wage increase for healthcare workers, adding new healthcare services to the list and expanding the possibilities of long-term care. EHIF council chairman Hanno Pevkur said that according to the preliminary agreement between healthcare workers and the hospitals union, the workload of doctors and nurses concerning hospital bed days will be changed. The EHIF forecasts that the doctors’ average wage increase will be 6.1 percent, that of nurses 9.7 percent and caretakers 13.7 percent next year. For 2014, the wage increase is forecast to be 11.17 and 22 percent, respectively, as compared to what it is now. The council of the EHIF will convene to approve the budget on Jan. 11, 2012.

Ties between Estonia and Finland are of the utmost importance for the region’s economic development; in particular, Estonians working in and around Helsinki earn over 500 million euros a year, reports YLE. Uusimaa is a region in Finland where the capital city, Helsinki, and the country’s second largest city Espoo are located. In Uusimaa, approximately 10,000-15,000 Estonians are employed, earning a total of 500 million euros a year, according to estimates. About 7 million trips are made between Helsinki and Tallinn a year. Finns mostly come to Estonia for fun - they seek rest, relaxation, shopping and various services; Estonians mostly go to Helsinki for work, as well as to visit relatives.

According to the recent economic growth study of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) for the next 50 years, Estonia will pass France, Italy and Spain and will be close to Finland and Austria by 2060 in national wealth, reports Postimees. The OECD’s study ‘Looking to 2060: Long-term global growth prospects’ estimates Estonia’s average economic growth at 2.6 percent a year during that period, which is the highest indicator among member states, which means that in 50 years’ time, Estonians will live in a state where the average wage is 4,000-5,000 euros a month. Estonia would be in 11th place among OECD states, with GDP of $66,000 per capita in 2060. Eesti Pank President Ardo Hansson says that he does not wish to fantasize in public on such matters. Swedbank’s former chief economist Maris Lauri also says that such long term economic forecasts are based on knowledge about the past and present, and it is impossible to forecast technological and political changes to come. One of the main authors of the OECD study, Asa Johansson explains to Postimees that their work is based on the so-called conditional convergence model that means that poorer areas grow faster to catch up with richer ones, but the richer they get, the slower the growth.

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