Eesti in brief - 2008-10-01

  • 2008-10-01
Unemployment rates in Estonia have grown 45 percent compared to 2007, with 12,000 people made redundant since the beginning of the year. As regards the prognosis of the Unemployment Insurance Fund, next year about 30,000 people will get their compensation due to being made redundant. By the Employment department's evaluation, the re-education program should be helping those who faced redundancy. However as former workers of the Krenholm factory in Narva have found, it is not that easy to learn a new skill  and find a new job. Krenholm's mass redundancy was the largest in the history of Estonia, 1,300 people lost their jobs. This year 112 different companies have announced massive redundancies. The end of 2008 prognosis by the Unemployment Insurance Fund is that 20,000 people will lose their jobs, while 2009 will be even worse.

In Washington on Sept. 29 Estonia's Interior Minister Juri Pihl and Justice Minister Rein Lang signed a final agreement on a  visa waiver program between Estonia and United States. "This agreement is extremely important and necessary in today's world that is full of risks, where international terrorism, cross-border crime and illegal migration are jeopardising countries' internal stability, people's daily lives, and are undermining the mainstays of the democratic society," said Pihl. Now the security secretary has to complete four final requirements; to certify and confirm the safety of the departing air passengers, certify the electronic travel permits system, confirm that Estonia poses no threat to U.S. security and immigration arrangements and officially notify congress.

More and more small companies and private individuals are not able to pay  for car leasing. Financial problems affecting small and medium companies are forcing them to return or exchange for cheaper models vehicles acquired with the help of leasing companies. Head of the leasing department of Swedbank, Gunnar Toomemets, mentioned in an interview for that "the number of vehicles returned to the bank, because of the difficulties with payments had grown and that in most cases clients finishing their leasing agreements are small companies and private customers." The Sampo bank's car leasing department head in turn added that during the last half a year more clients are delaying their payments, however "in today's economic situation this is natural and we don't see anything dramatic".

U.S. Secretary of Defense, Robert M. Gates, is to visit Estonia this November in order to attend NATO-Ukraine high level consultations, which are held once every year. "It shows how important a topic relations with Ukraine are for NATO and how important it is not only for Ukraine and Estonia and other NATO members, but also for the United States," Jaak Aaviksoo, Estonia's defense minister said.