[10/03/2010] [Estonia] [Report] [Multilingual]
Posted by : Katy Kefferputz, Migration Policy Group
Authors : Estonian Co-operation Assembly
Although the bursting of the US real estate bubble on the global financial markets is seen as the main reason for the worldwide economic crisis that hit Estonia almost two years ago, the natural end of our own economic cycle also added momentum to the crisis and deepened our economic decline.
Recognising this fact allows us to conclude that Estonia has become an ordinary country that has experienced the periods of growth and decline that are an inevitable part of economic development as a country and society. Let us hope that our experiences have made us wiser, since the ongoing crisis, which is hopefully showing the first signs of abating, pointed out the places in the organisation of our common life that cracked and even crumbled under the weight the economic downturn.
This is the time to ask whether we have the sense to recognise what we could have done differently and the courage to acknowledge our shortcomings. More specifically, we should think about how we can change our behaviour in order to avoid similar difficulties in the next economic cycle.
At the time of the publication of the 2009 Human Development Report it not yet known whether Estonia will succeed in achieving the adoption of the euro at the beginning of 2011 – a strategic goal from the standpoint of the country’s future economic stability.
Let us assume and hope that Estonia reaches this goal. Among other things, the introduction of the euro will also change attitudes toward Estonia – it is likely that along with money from Europe and the rest of the world, businesses and people will also find their way to this stable, innovative and open economic environment and will, perhaps, remain here permanently.
In order to achieve this, we will have to create a new type of ecosystem in Estonia that attracts talent and is invested in people and their skills. Estonia must offer people a high-quality human environment in order for the world’s best brains to consider coming to Estonia among their other options.
This means that the society must be tolerant of newcomers. It also means that the country must have a fully developed infrastructure and be able to provide its people with a sense of security. Furthermore, we must offer good educational opportunities for both parents and children, high-quality medical care and other social services.
No, we do not need these things to attract newcomers. All people in Estonia, whether they live in large urban centres or farms in the woods, in Saaremaa or Saverna, are part of this ecosystem as its consumers and contributors. If we want our own people to think of Estonia as their home, we have to make it a more caring and friendly place.
Therefore, it is not by chance that this year’s Human Development Report focuses on Estonia as a human environment and on some aspects of the current state of this environment. I hope that a detailed analysis of the situation will help us all comprehend the extent of the work that awaits us after the end of the crisis.