TALINN - The global crisis has broken down the east-wide divide in the EU and created a new north-south split, which hinges on attitudes to the market, Estonia’s President Toomas Hendrik Ilves said on Feb. 18, reports AFP. “The recent economic crisis has changed the geographical self-identification of the European economy, with the old dividing lines between East and West, the so-called ‘new Europe’ and ‘old Europe,’ fading and being replaced by new lines between north and south Europe,” Ilves told a conference of the Estonian employers’ federation.
“The talk is not just of sustainable fiscal policies and responsible economic policy, but more broadly about the competitiveness of economies and also different attitudes towards the transparency of the economy and market economy as such,” he added.
Estonia, a Baltic nation of 1.3 million people, joined the European Union in 2004.
Since breaking free from the Soviet bloc in 1991, it has carved out a reputation for prudent fiscal policies which were in place well ahead of the recent crisis. Having adopted the euro last month, Estonia has said it has lessons to teach older members of the currency zone who regularly have breached their own fiscal rules.