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Estonian report Estonian report
by Euro Reporter
2011-12-23 10:08:59
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Tallinn wants Russian schools to teach in Estonian

The Estonian government has not granted a delay to 15 Russian-speaking schools with regard to the switch to education in Estonian. On Wednesday, Russian Schools of Estonia public association made a statement to the Estonian government demanding to observe constitutional provisions.

Under the Constitution, the language of education in institutions for ethnic minorities is defined by the administrations of these institutions. According to the statement, the association has collected more than 11,000 signatures in protection of education in Russian. Estonia currently has 43 Russian-speaking schools.


Minimum wage to increase in 2012

Estonian government approved a decree that raises minimum wage to 290 Euros a month and 1.8 Euros an hour starting next year, LETA/National Broadcasting reports. Estonian Trade Union Confederation and Employers’ Confederation signed a collective labour agreement on Tuesday [Dec. 20], agreeing upon an increase of the minimum wage.

The current minimum wage is 1.73 Euros an hour and 278.02 Euros per month. Raising the minimum wage will bring the 2012 state budget additional income amounting to 2.9 million Euros.


Euro Not In Crisis Says Estonia Finance Minister

The troubles in the euro-zone should not be labelled as crises for the euro, Estonia's Minister of Finance Jurgen Ligi said in an opinion piece published on Wednesday. According to the finance minister, the euro zone hasn't been the trigger or the cause of the troubles rocking financial markets. Instead, Ligi points at the bursting credit bubble in the U.S. and the resulting government debts countries have accumulated, as the root of the problems. Ligi said the euro zone is signified by large regional differences, in much the same way that individual states in the U.S. differ.

He noted that debt as a percentage of gross domestic products in countries in the euro zone ranges from 6% of GDP to 160% of GDP, with average euro-zone public debt somewhere in the middle, while the same figure in the U.S. is over 100% of economic output. "The U.S. budget deficit amounts to over 10% [of GDP], while in the euro zone it's 4%," he said. "The euro zone, unlike the U.S., doesn't depend on foreign money, and in terms of foreign trade it's in surplus," he added. However, Ligi criticized politicians in many euro-zone countries for being influenced by various influential interest groups, which has led to the introduction of various tax exemptions, uncompetitive regulation and indexed wage increases.

According to Ligi, the role of the state should be to work for the common benefit of all citizens, while any additional costs for handling a crisis should be covered by tax revenues and reserves rather than debt. "The role of the state should not be to take risks or increase debt. Public services and the costs for maintenance of the state should be covered by tax revenues," he said. Ligi added that Europe doesn't need the introduction of additional costs. "Rather it needs a selection of appropriate social systems, competitive deregulation, liberalization of labour markets, wage cost containment, privatization and the development of a common market."

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