Nr. 12-2011 Published monthly by:
The Swedish Chamber of Commerce
in Estonia

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Wages about to overtake Productivity - After nearly two years, labour costs are likely to surpass those of labour productivity, says Eesti Pank in a mid-November analysis.

- This was an expected development, since the labour market responds to economic growth with a lag and the strong results of the first half of the year motivated employers to hire and raise wages, continues Estonia’s Central Bank.

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Leveling the Risks - Increasing investments in the 2012 State Budget will level the risks hidden in the insecure international economic environment, said Estonia’s Minister of Finance, Jürgen Ligi, as he commented next year’s now approved State budget.

Together with his colleagues from Latvia and Lithuania, Jürgen Ligi took part in a seminar at Handelshögskolan - Stockholm (the Stockholm School of Economics in Stockholm).

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The European Finance Minister of the Year Financial Times has named Sweden’s Anders Borg the European Finance Minister of the Year. The newspaper has assessed the European Finance Ministers’ political ability, and their economical performance and credibility on the market.

“A traumatic year has tested the resourcefulness of the continent’s treasury chiefs to the limit. As a wizard behind one of Europe’s best performing economies, Anders Borg has won extra impact in Brussels”, writes Financial Times.

- European countries with strong state finances should be prepared to provide economical support if Europe should slide into a deep recession. However, I think we are far way from that dark perspective, said Anders Borg in an interview with Financial Times.

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The Christmas Gift of the Year

There are some peculiarities in Swedish Christmas traditions according to many non-Swedes. Some of them are found on Julbordet, the Swedish Christmas Buffet. Others include the tradition to sit down in front of the TV on Christmas Eve at 3pm to look at Donald Duck and his friends celebrating Christmas.

And yet another one is the Swedish Trade Research Institute’s 24 years old tradition of naming the Swedish Christmas Gift of the Year.
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Cooperation with the tax authority - advance ruling vs written explanation It is possible for a taxpayer to obtain information from the state already before entering into a transaction or performing an act. Therefore, it is possible for the taxpayer to get explanations in respect of tax laws also prospectively and not just retrospectively.

Villy Lopman, Tax Counsel at Law office Raidla Lejins & Norcous, explains on advance ruling vs written explanation.

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The 20th Anniversary The 20th Anniversary of Estonia’s restored independence has been duly celebrated and e-focus has taken a look at the festive events in Tallinn and Stockholm. And, e-focus also had a talk with Kaire Papp - 20 years old, the same age as Estonia’s restored independence.

The celebrations started in Stockholm five days before Estonia’s official Taasiseseisvumispäev with a Måndagsmöte (Monday Meeting) at Norrmalmstorg where the Prime Ministers from Sweden, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania were among the speakers.

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Debt protection act – creditors' fears coming true? On 5 April 2011, the Estonian Debt Restructuring and Debt Protection Act (DPA) (Est: võlgade ümberkujundamise ja võlakaitse seadus) will come into force in spite of the comprehensive resistance it met last year.

The need for such an act arose due to the crisis, or to be more exact, the need to avoid a new crisis in the future. As this law applies to all natural persons, it is of crucial importance to be aware of how the amendments will change the possibilities to protect creditors' interests when giving loans or making investments in Estonia.

Kaimo Räppo and Kaido Künnapas at MAQS Law Firm, Tallinn, make an analysis of the new act.

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UDleaks Already called UDleaks in Swedish media, UD – Utrikesdepartementet (The Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs) has now released previously secret embassy reports from the years 1989 – 1991 on the Internet. It is mostly reports that were sent to the Ministry in Stockholm from Swedish diplomats in Moscow, Leningrad and the, at that time, provisional Swedish representations in Tallinn and Riga.

"This year two decades have passed since the Soviet Union collapsed and Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania could re-establish themselves as independent neighbors to Sweden on the other side of the Baltic Sea", writes Sweden's Minister for Foreign Affairs in the preface to "An empire implodes" – a collection of some of the embassy reports now being published.

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Estonian-Swedes, Swedish-Estonians and Swedes in Estonia Estonian-Swedes have most probably been living along the north-western Estonian coastline and the Estonian islands for close to 1.000 years. The majority of them, as well as many Estonians, managed to flee to Sweden and escape the Soviet occupation with 1943 - 1944 marking a peak in the number of people leaving their homes in Estonia.

The Estonian-Swedish times of today started to pick up towards the end of the 1980's and Estonia's restored independence 1991. Some of the refugees, as well as many of their descendants, started to return, and additionally the last twenty years have also seen a new and diversified generation Swedes establishing themselves in the Estonia.
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