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The economic environment 2010 will most probably go to the history books as the year when the economical downturn reached the bottom and growth slowly started to pick up again. Throughout 2010 and under the headline 'Here we are. What's next?' the Swedish Chamber of Commerce in Estonia is arranging a series of meetings, conferences and seminars on the economic environment.

Focus is put on issues, factors and trends of importance to Estonian – Swedish commerce, trade and investments, but with an obvious international outlook and not limited to economic issues only. Being small countries, Estonia and Sweden are also to a high degree depending on the countries' image and awareness levels abroad.

As for Estonia, Swedish media have demonstrated difficulties in realizing that the country is a sovereign State and not a landscape or a county in something referred to as Baltikum (Baltic).

Sveriges Radio's (Swedish public service radio's) headline from 2004 "Svårt bilda regering i Baltikum" (Difficult to form government in Baltic) is a classic.

As the financial crisis accelerated the word Baltikum, instead of Estonia, Latvia or Lithuania, became frequent in several Swedish media and new words, like Baltfrossa (Baltic shivers), were invented.

During the first months of 2010 things have improved for Estonia's image in Sweden and other countries. It has been noted, and reported, that it is Estonia, and not Baltikum, who has met the Maastricht criteria for joining the eurozone. It has also been noted and reported that Estonia, as the only country among the three Baltic States, was invited to join OECD in 2007 and this year will become an OECD-member.

SCCE's 'Here we are. What's next?'-series will run throughout 2010 and here is a list of past, upcoming and planned meetings, conferences and seminars on the economic environment:

Winter 2010

January:

Here we are. What's next?
As the economical downturn levels out and signs of a recovery are becoming more and more visible, two crucial questions remains; Which are the lessons learned? What's next around the corner?

March:

Here we are. What's next? (see also 'Voices on Estonia and the euro' in this issue of e-focus)
Guest speakers from the Stockholm School of Economics in Riga; Does Estonia deserve euro adoption by 2011?

The evening before the figures were published.
An After Business Hours discussion with Jaan Männik, Chairman of the Board at Eesti Pank – Estonia's Central Bank.

Spring 2010 – Upcoming

April 20th: The investment climate in Estonia
Foreign investments in Estonia are picking up again and at a Business Breakfast SCCE will get an update presented by Mikael Orkomies and Martin Seppälä – Partners at Excedea, Ahti Kuningas - Deputy Secretary General, Economic Development at the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, and Andrus Alber - Chairman of the Management Board, Tallinn Stock Exchange.

May 7th: Here we are. What's next?
A Nordic - Baltic conference in Pärnu on the economic environment arranged by the Swedish Chambers of Commerce in Estonia and Latvia.


Autumn 2010 - Planned

The final decision on Estonia joining the eurozone will be announced Tuesday, July 13th and will provide good fuel for this autumn's continuation of SCCE's 'Here we are. What's next?'-series.

If the decision is yes; What practicalities in connection with the changeover to euro need to be observed? How does the changeover timetable look like? What further impact will the euro introduction have on commerce, trade and investments? ...

If the decision is no; Which are the immediate and longer term impacts of such a decision? Will the Kroon keep its fort against increased speculations and international pressure? Will Estonia continue its ambitions for the euro introduction alone or in a joint approach together with Latvia and Lithuania? ...

Indeed an interesting autumn 2010 ahead. Welcome to join the meetings, conferences and seminars on the economic environment in the 'Here we are. What's next?'-series. Companies and organizations not yet being members of the Swedish Chamber of Commerce in Estonia, welcome to join the Chamber.