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   About candidate countries
European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction
Area 45,227 km2
Population 1,370.100 (2000 population census). 80% citizens of Estonia, 7% citizens of other countries and 13% stateless
Capital Tallinn (population 408,329 or 28% of total population)
Life expectancy Average: 65.4 years (male), 76.1 (female)
Language Estonian
Religion Leading role: Lutheran. Others: Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, Baptist, Methodist and Roman Catholic
Administrative division  15 counties, 205 rural municipalities and 42 towns (currently under review)
Judicial system Three-instance court system, 22 courts of first instance (3 city courts, 15 county courts and 4 administrative courts)
GDP/capita €8.500 (PPS) in 2000
Inflation rate 4.2% in 2001
National budget 2001 budget: 29.8 billion kroons (1.9 billion EUR)
Government deficit -0.7% of GDP (2000)
Government debt 5.3% of GDP (2000)
Trade with EU in 2000 Exports to the EU: 77% of the total: 2.6 billion EUR; Imports from the EU: 85% of the total: 2.9 billion EUR
Country information


Estonia lies along the Baltic Sea, just south of Finland and has a climate of icy, snowy winters and long light summers. It is a country about the same size as the Netherlands, and is sparsely populated with around 1.4m people. Tallinn, Estonia’s capital city, is about 80 km or 50 miles south of Helsinki, across the Gulf of Finland. Sweden is Estonia's western neighbour across the Baltic. Russia lies to the east, Latvia to the south.

The country is mostly flat, with many lakes and islands although in the south there are rolling hills and skiing is possible in towns like Otepää. In the east of Estonia, lake Peipus, the 4th largest lake in Europe, forms a natural frontier with Russia. On the Western Coast, the islands and islets have been designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and are a mecca for Estonians and tourists alike during the summer. Across Estonia, much of the land is farmed or forested, with industrial production concentrated around Tallinn and in the Northeast.

Tallinn is an important port and one of the best preserved medieval cities in Europe. It is a city of grey towers topped with red tiles, of stone stairs beneath arching gateways, of narrow winding streets, cobbled pavement and towering ramparts. Outside the capital, other notable towns include Tartu, an ancient university town in the south-east, Narva with its imposing fortress on the border with Russia in the north and Pärnu with its attractive beach in the south-west.

Political overview

The independent Republic of Estonia was born in the aftermath of the First World War in 1918. It was subsequently occupied by the Soviet Union (1940-41, 1944-1991) and Nazi Germany (1941-1944).

A resurgence of Estonian national identity began in the late 1980s. The most visible (but peaceful) protests occurred in 1988 when large numbers of Estonians came together to sing national songs in the so-called "singing revolution" and in 1989 when people across all three Baltic countries joined hands together to form a massive human chain.

In 1991, Estonia declared the restoration of its independence which was quickly recognised by other countries. Since then, Estonian Governments have pursued a liberal free-trade policy and have embraced new technologies which has resulted in a rapid transformation to a market economy. In November 2001, Mr Arnold Rűűtel replaced Mr Lennart Meri as only the second President that Estonia has had since independence.

Economic overview

In Estonia, the transition from a planned economy to a market economy started at the beginning of the 1990s. Reforms carried out after monetary reform in 1992 were comprehensive and systematic.

In June 1992, the Estonian national currency was taken into use and became the legal currency of Estonia. Monetary stability was one of the most important preconditions for carrying out reforms in other areas. Most prices were liberalised by 1992, the government only maintains control over the price of energy, certain services and rents.

In order to restructure the business sector, an appropriate legal framework was established and privatisation process launched. Estonia’s success in attracting foreign investment has been a continuous feature of the transition process.

As a result of the transition to a new economic system, Estonia’s gross domestic product (GDP) decreased sharply in the years 1991-1994. By 1995, the recession phase was over. Economic growth was fastest in 1997. Due to a crisis in the financial sector, foreign demand began to decline in 1998. The same year saw a crisis in the Russian market, and as a result, Estonia’s GDP decreased by 1.1% in 1999.

In 2000, the growth rate of Estonia’s economy increased rapidly to 6%, driven by economic integration with EU member states. This high rate of growth has continued in 2001. Important exports are machinery and electrical equipment, wood and textiles products. Tourism and transit trade also make important contributions to the economy. Finland and Sweden are amongst Estonia’s biggest partners in business, investment and tourism.

Reports on drugs situation

National Reports

Other documents

Disclaimer © European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, 2002
The texts, reports and publications in this section have been provided by the candidate countries' national focal points. The findings, conclusions and interpretations in these documents are those of the authors alone and do not represent the policy of the EMCDDA, its partners, any EU Member State or any agency or institution of the European Union or European Communities.

documents in English     documents in national language

Related Websites
  1. European Commission: Enlargement: Candidate Country: Estonia- This page provides an introduction to Estonia's country profile, an overview of of key documents related to enlargement, press releases and interesting links.
  2. Tervisekasvatuse Keskus | Estonian Health Education Centre is leading the national drug prevention programme since 2001. All the information about national programme is in their website.
  3. AIDS-i Ennetuskeskuse - Estonian AIDS Prevention Centre, Information about drugs, addiction and contacts of help possibilities.
  4. Terviseleht - Uimastiennetus arengukava, Põlvamaa - County drug-related information
  5. NARKO EI!2001, Hiiu Maavalitsus, Hiiumaa - County drug-related information
  6. Narko - terviseõpetuse õppematerjal - Send a drug- related story to web page

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