Rõtov: Andrus Ansip and Jürgen Ligi deserve their honors

23.12.2011, 10:07

Igor Rõtov, general manager of Äripäev, writes that Estonian prime minister Andrus Ansip and finance minister Jürgen Ligi deserve credit for their work. The following are abstracts from Rõtov’s column.

“Looking back to the ending year, one can say that it was a mixed plate. On the one hand, the crisis is behind, we have introduced the euro and we are filled with new ideas. On the other hand, we are far even from the 2007 level and the European debt crisis threatens to flatten us. Both the eurozone and the monetary union are not what they were even a few years ago.

Only a year ago Estonia was a little backwater country in Europe who was affected by an economic crisis, high unemployment and hopeless future. A year later, total transformation. We have become a student who only gets the highest marks who is appreciated and envied, Estonia’s economic growth is the fastest in eurozone and we are forecast to keep this position. Prominent international sources such as The Economist use Estonia as an example of smart budgetary and loan policy.

All this has come at a price. We have still high unemployment for such a small country and, according to statistics, only 50,000 wage-earners who make more than a thousand euros a months. These are people who have money left from paying for the necessities of life. Thousands young and talented people have moved abroad to earn higher wages. We have compensated our weak domestic market with export growth, but often our main export article is our poverty and cheap labour force.

Despite of all this, I believe that Estonia is well positioned for what the future has in store for us. Estonia has an excellent platform for the future and it seems that in all scenarios we are the ones who benefit.

I am quite certain that we can say that 2011 was a successful and happy year. For me a key moment was the report of IMF on world economy published in the autumn that for the first time included Estonia among developed countries. We are in the same club as Germany, Finland or US. We left behind Latvia and Lithuania with whom we had the same playground and moved into the premier league. Could anyone have imagined it even a few years ago? If I were the President of Estonia, I would decorate both Ansip and Ligi for achieving that.”