Estonia. At the beginning of the year, 89-year-old
wealthy Estonian businessman Harry Männil died in Costa
Rica. He was charged with collaboration with Gestapo and
participation in the murder of Jews during the Nazi
occupation of Estonia during the Second World War.
Prosecutors in Estonia had written off the suspicions
against Männil in 2005, but he was still wanted by the Simon
Wiesenthal Center. Human was an adviser to the first
After a GDP minus of just over 14 percent in 2009, the
downturn for Estonia's economy continued during the first
quarter of the year. The unemployment rate was also 19.8 per
cent, the highest figure the country has had since
independence in 1991. But the economy reversed during the
second quarter with growth and decline in unemployment.
The budget deficit, which had stayed at 1.7 percent the
year before, remained at a low level and the central
government debt was only 7.2 percent of GDP. This meant that
Estonia received the EU Commission's clear sign in May in
the Euro co-operation at New Year 2011. The message was
confirmed at the EU summit in June and by the eurozone
finance ministers in July. Estonia was the only country
outside the euro zone that during the year met all the
criteria for euro cooperation.
COUNTRYAAH, Estonia's currency had long had a fixed exchange rate
against the euro, 15.65 kroner for one euro, a rate that
would also apply at the time of the transition.
Following the large credit losses in the Baltic countries
in 2009, the Swedish banks, which dominate the credit market
in Estonia, experienced a turnaround at the beginning of the
year. The real estate market had reached the bottom and a
certain rise in house prices appeared.
Despite the economic downturn, the effects of the crisis
continued. In October, a 150-year-old industrial tradition
broke into the grave when the Swedish-owned textile factory
Kreenholm in Narva went bankrupt. Kreenholm, one of the
Union's largest industries with over 11,000 employees during
the Soviet era, was bought by Borås Wäfveri during the
privatizations in independent Estonia, but has since been
out-competed by the textile production in the Asian low-wage
Ahead of the upcoming parliamentary elections in early
2011, a leadership battle was fought within the opposition
party Social Democrats. Sven Mikser, 36, was elected new
party leader at the congress in October. Mixer set the goal
of building up the Social Democrats in order to be able to
form government in the 2015 elections.