he number of medical workers applying for documents from the Health Board entitling them to work abroad reached 398, reports Aripaev. The documents, which cost 192 euros, are valid for just three months. The biggest number of doctors who received the documents were general medicine practitioners, at 51; 25 were family doctors and 9 were anesthesiologists. Estonian Doctors Union secretary Katrin Rehemaa said that the general medicine practitioners were largely university graduates who did not get a place in residency and, in order to continue with their studies, had no other choice than to go abroad. Estonian Family Doctors Association president Ruth Kalda said that she does not think that all of the family doctors who applied for the documents actually left Estonia: some family doctors use the possibility to work in Estonia and Finland simultaneously, for example.
Analysts at the political studies center Praxis find that the Social Democrats’ Party and the Center Party have the most ambitious election platforms in terms of social protection, active employment policy and life-long learning, reports National Broadcasting. These two parties would like to have Estonia catch up quickly to the Nordic countries’ model and would finance their social welfare programs by imposing higher taxes. Social Democrats also want more regulation in labor relations. Analysts noted, however, that the suitability of this model for Estonia is unclear, as is the question of how sustainable it would be in the long-term perspective. According to Praxis analysts, PRU and the Reform Party have the most modest social welfare platforms – they are not promising to bring any significant subsidies and grants affecting the labor market and are not planning to raise any taxes to finance the measures.
The total tax debt of Estonian taxpayers is around 383.5 million euros, and a large part of this are hopeless debts with which the state has to decide whether to annul them or not, reports National Broadcasting. There are 360 companies in Estonia that mediate fuel, for example, while in Finland there are just about ten. VAT fraud forms 85 percent of tax revenues that the state is deprived of and that figure indicates that the lifetime of newly created fuel firms tends to be rather short. The scheme is simple: a few months of tax-free operating, then bankruptcy and a new company. Naturally, fuel sellers are not the only VAT fraudsters; there are scrap metal firms and real estate businessmen. Customs are fighting the illegal cigarette business, which is thought to amount to 19 percent of the cigarette market.