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Estonian report
by Euro Reporter
2012-05-20 06:51:22
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Not to retroactively cut green subsidies

The Estonian government has vowed that it will not look to lower subsidies to renewable-energy producers retroactively, during a question-and-answer session in Riga yesterday. Environment minister Keit Pentus told ministers that any such move could affect investment in the country and that it wouldn't happen unless it reached an agreement with investors. Under a draft bill, which is currently in the second of three parliamentary readings, subsidies could be cut by as much as half from next year.

Mr Pentus said that if market participants and ministers could "reach a common understanding", then "only in this case can it be implemented". He added: "If such an agreement can't be made, then the state cannot enforce a retroactive change in the rules. This just wouldn’t be appropriate for Estonia."

The original law was brought in during 2007 although it does violate European Union law. In February, the European Renewable Energies Federation urged Estonia to withdraw the plan. KMS Baltics is a partnership of independent companies providing forestry investment management in Estonia, Latvia, the UK and Romania.


Average Estonian consumes 9.1 litters of wine per year

A study commissioned by Altia Eesti AS and conducted by TNS Emor showed that wine consumption increased by 18 percent in Estonia last year. The study revealed that the average Estonian adult's consumption of wine increased from 7.7 litters in 2010 to 9.1 litters in 2011. In comparison, the French who are the world's leading wine consumers drank 52.5 litters of wine per capita in 2011. The Italians and the Portuguese followed with 52 and 48.5 litters, respectively. Among the Nordic countries, Denmark led the field with 38 litters, whereas in Finland this figure was 15.2 litters.

According to the study, 45 percent of Estonians prefer red and 21 percent white wine. In addition, a majority, or 35 percent, favour medium sweet wine, while 17 percent prefer dry wine. Most Estonians, or 46 percent, consume red wine less than once a month and only 12 percent drink wine once a week. On average, Estonians buy wine less than once a month.

The study also showed that 62 percent of consumers had a clear preference for wines produced in a specific country, with 26 percent of these respondents favouring wines produced in Chile. France came second with 22 percent, and Spain and Italy followed with 21 percent each.


Estonia already offers free WiFi. Next up: free public transit

Estonians already enjoy free, country-wide WiFi. Now their capital, Tallinn, plans to become the first city in Europe to offer free public transit. Starting next year, the $2 fare for the city’s buses and streetcars will be scrapped. The mayor of the city of 400,000, Edgar Savisaar, is optimistic the free ride will get people out of their cars and help make Tallinn the “flagship of the green movement in Europe.”

Savisaar announced the plan after a March referendum showed 75 per cent support for the idea. But not everyone is sold. Only 20 per cent of Tallinn’s citizens voted in the poll, critics say, and it is unclear how the city will make up for the lost ticket revenue, which represents a third of the transit system’s funding. Even a Green party member is skeptical: “I would love to not pay for the services I consume,” Valdur Lahtvee told the BBC, but he worries the quality of the service will plummet, and send people back to their cars. Other politicians accuse the mayor of trying to build popularity for the Centre party, which he leads.

Perhaps Estonia is simply a giving nation. The world’s first free Skype video chat booth, offering unlimited, worldwide video calls, recently opened in Tallinn’s main airport.

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