We are talking about «Eesti 2020» – a national development plan to improve Estonia’s international competitiveness as first tackled by Andrus Ansip’s third government in 2011. The vague-named document is basically nothing but a vision for Estonian macroeconomy, obligatory for all governments.
According to interim report by Government Office, 17 of the 11 goals have been reached or are going according to schedule; with six, the state is lagging behind or even backslidden.
Estonia has shown best development in employment and education. For instance: among those aged 20-64, employment rate has risen to 73.3 percent from the post-recession 66.4 percent in 2011. This is just some few percent under goal set for 2020. In the opinion of some, the share of highly-educated among those aged 30-34 has actually overgrown – exceeding the 2020 aim by 3.7 percent.
This is not enough to ensure happiness, however, as economy and social aspects are way behind the prescribed tempo.
Message to next government
Pursuant to plan, productivity of Estonia’s working people ought by now to have risen to 73 percent of EU average. It is at 70. The percentage of those living in relative poverty ought to have been lower by a percent, but it rose by one. Thus: Estonians seem to be working hard and getting educated while productivity won’t grow and poverty won’t give way.
As already underlined by National Audit Office, by simply allotting money to entrepreneurship the government will never increase competitiveness. Thus far, governments have invested into increase of Estonia’s export volumes by pumping state and EU subsidies into the economy. Even so, as shown by economy ministry analysis last year, export volume and added value at enterprises thus supported had grown just as much as at those that were not.
What’s more: the support money will within this financing period shrink to €90,1m – from about €330m. Something needs to change.
The interim report containing 150 proposals is essentially nothing by a message by officials, analysts and entrepreneurs to the next coalition on how to ensure Estonia’s success.
The Government Office vice strategic director Märt Loite will not deny that the report was purposefully timed to pre-election days. «Surely, there are things insufficiently discussed. Like tax policy,» he said.
The roots of the issue go to the shrinking population. Over the next five years, the ranks of those aged 20–64 will, according to Statistical Office, thin by 44,000. In order to maintain the critical level of about 600,000 employed, we’d already need an 80 percent employment level. To crawl out of the hole, we will need to learn how to work more effectively and expensively – and fast. Otherwise, we’ll need to bring in extra hands.