TALLINN - Independent analysts commenting on a recently published report by the Ministry of Finance say that in best utilizing EU grants, Estonia should pay more attention to exports and to developing a knowledge-based economy, reports news wire LETA.
The Ministry of Finance July 24 released the report, which includes a compilation of proposals from non-government experts, expressing the need to accelerate the use of EU resources to create better conditions for Estonia to exit the economic crisis.
"Estonia should deal on a larger scale with problems that are included in an economic crisis, such as unemployment and social security," said Ernst & Young Baltic consultant Tauno Olju.
The key points in the report mostly concern the need to improve efficiency and speed of implementation of measures to contribute to developing a more competitive economic infrastructure.
Minister of Finance Jurgen Ligi said that in the context of the economic slump, priorities and plans have to be reviewed. "The extra funds that can be used in the form of EU aid are very important right now when the State budget has no other resources with which to increase subsidies and aid programs that would boost the economy," he said.
To emphasize continuing economic difficulties, May export numbers for goods fell by 31 per cent year-on-year, while imports fell by 41 per cent, shows Statistics Estonia. The decrease in foreign trade was mostly caused by the steep decline in exports and imports of machinery and equipment. Exports from Estonia amounted to 8 billion kroons (511 million euros) in May; imports at 8.5 billion kroons.
The trade deficit, at 470 million kroons, is the smallest since September 1995, and the result of deepening recession and slashed consumer consumption, reports Bloomberg. This being a vast improvement over last year's trade numbers, which for May 2008, came in at a deficit of 2.9 billion kroons.
Estonia is set to receive up to 53.3 billion kroons in EU structural funds from 2007-2013, though its defined priority areas and financing goals were determined back in 2007, when the economy was booming.