Eesti in brief - 2011-10-27

  • 2011-10-26

The Estonian state launched land sales in big volumes last year which will continue until next year, when it plans to sell 15 million euros’ worth of land, reports Aripaev. By 2015, land sales are planned to fall to 8 million euros. In 2011, 20.5 million euros have been received from the sales; additionally, the state has acquired 44 real estate units which contain a nature protection object, said Land Board acting deputy director Anne Toom. She added that around 11 million euros’ worth of more contracts are being concluded this year, a part of which will be compensated with for real estate units that contain a nature protection object. The Land Board has this year held public auctions for 1,672 real estate units, with a total area of 14,830 hectares. As of Oct. 17, sales contracts of 1,140 real estate units had been concluded. This year bids for 200-220 real estate units with an area of 2,300 hectares will still take place. The sales rate will slow in the future: next year the plan is to sell around 2,000 units with 16,000 hectares.

The Council of the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund made a proposal to the government to reduce the unemployment insurance tax rate, although the government has stressed that it will not happen before 2013, reports National Broadcasting. Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) Council Chairman Harri Taliga said that UIF reserves would grow even if the tax rate was 3 percent, instead of the current 4.2 percent. “A three percent tax rate would be sufficient for reserves to continue to grow, but they would grow more slowly than the government wants,” said Taliga. Both the Trade Unions Confederation that Taliga heads, and Employers Confederation, support reduction of the tax rate. Taliga said that the main aim of the 4.2 percent tax rate is to keep the general budgetary balance with the fast growing reserves and cover the state’s other spending from them. The government, however, says that it is not possible to reduce the tax rate before 2013 since the UIF has to be ready for future crises.

A train tunnel between Tallinn and Helsinki would cost from 2-3 billion euros, reports Helsinkin Sanomat. The section would be an extension of the Rail Baltic line that is planned to connect all three Baltic States with a fast train route. Helsinki city government international relations department expert Olli Keinanen said, though, that such a train tunnel could only be considered after Rail Baltic is completed.