Estonia. At New Year, Estonia became the 17th country in
the euro zone, when the old currency was exchanged at the
exchange rate of 15.65 kroner against one euro.
In the opinion, only a quarter of Estonians were positive
about the currency exchange in the midst of the growing euro
crisis in Europe. For the government, however, it was a
political success to have, in the wake of the global
financial crisis, passed the conditions for the euro zone.
Estonia's economy had recovered in 2010 and at the beginning
of 2011, Estonia had the EU's lowest government debt and
also a small surplus in the budget. However, unemployment
was high, around 14%, after tangible budget cuts. In the
first three quarters of 2011, Estonia had a GDP increase of
around 7%, and at the end of the year unemployment fell.
With the economy recovering in the back, the coalition
government won the parliamentary elections in March. Prime
Minister Andrus Ansip's own Liberal Reform Party received
28.6% of the vote and passed with two seats to 33. The
right-wing Alliance IRL, which ruled together with Ansip's
party, increased even more and took 23 seats, an increase of
four. The coalition thus gained a majority with 56 of
Parliament's 101 seats. IRL's leader, former Prime Minister
Mart Laar, had long stayed out of government but now became
However, the biggest electoral success was the Social
Democrats, whose new leader Sven Mikser pushed the party
from just over 10% to over 17% and increased the number of
seats from 10 to 19.
Countryaah official site, the Leftist Center Party returned some mandates to 26,
after party leader Edgar Savisaar was accused of trying to
get illegal funding from the Russian Federation to the
In August, President Toomas Hendrik Ilves was re-elected
by Parliament for a second term of five years. Ilves got 73
votes against 25 for the challenger, European
Parliamentarian Indrek Tarand. It was the first time in an
Estonian presidential election that someone managed to get a
two-thirds majority in the first round.
At the end of the summer, explosive charges in the
Ministry of Defense in Tallinn were triggered by an armed
left-wing extremist who entered the premises. When the
police intervened, the bomber was killed in gunfire. No
other person was harmed.
In February, ten children and young people died in a fire
in an orphanage for people with disabilities in Haapsalu on
the Baltic Sea coast. Most children in the home used a
wheelchair. The business was mainly financed with donations