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About Estonia

Climate:
Estonia lies in the northern part of the temperate climate zone and in the transition zone between maritime and continental climate. Because Estonia (and all of Northern Europe) is continuously warmed by maritime air influenced by the heat content of the northern Atlantic Ocean, it has a milder climate despite its northern latitude. The Baltic Sea causes differences between the climate of coastal and inland areas. Estonia has four seasons of near-equal length. Average temperatures range from 16.3 C (61.3 F) on the Baltic islands to 18.1 C (64.6 F) inland in July, the warmest month, and from -3.5 C (26 F) on the Baltic islands to -7.6 C (18 F) inland in February, the coldest month. Young pine stand in winter.

The average annual temperature in Estonia is 5.2 C (41.4 F) . The average temperature in February, the coldest month of the year, is -5.7 C (22 F) . The average temperature in July, which is considered the warmest month of the year, is 16.4 C (61.5 F). The climate is also influenced by the Atlantic Ocean, the North-Atlantic Stream and the Icelandic Minimum, which is an area known for the formation of cyclones and where the average air pressure is lower than in neighbouring areas. Estonia is located in a humid zone in which the amount of precipitation is greater than total evaporation. The average precipitation in 19611990 ranged from 535 to 727 millimeters per year and was heaviest in late summer. There were between 102 and 127 rainy days a year, and average precipitation was most plentiful on the western slopes of the Sakala and Haanja Uplands. Snow cover, which is deepest in the south-eastern part of Estonia, usually lasts from mid-December to late March.

about-estonia

Currency:
In economics, the term currency can refer to a particular currency, for example Pound Sterling, or to the coins and banknotes of a particular currency, which comprise the physical aspects of a nation's money supply. The other part of a nation's money supply consists of money deposited in banks (sometimes called deposit money), ownership of which can be transferred by means of cheques or other forms of money transfer such as credit and debit cards. Deposit money and currency are money in the sense that both are acceptable as a means of exchange, but money need not necessarily be currency.

Historically, money in the form of currency has predominated. Usually (gold or silver) coins of intrinsic value commensurate with the monetary unit (commodity money), have been the norm. By contrast, modern currency, as fiat money, has no intrinsic value.

Economy:
As a member of the European Union, Estonia's economy is rated as high income by the World Bank. Due to its rapid growth, the Estonian economy has often been described as the Baltic Tiger. By 1929, a stable currency, the kroon, was established. It is issued by the Bank of Estonia, the country's central bank. Trade focused on the local market and the West, particularly Germany and the United Kingdom. Only 3% of all commerce was with the USSR.

Before the Second World War Estonia was mainly an agricultural country whose products such as butter, milk and cheese was widely known on the western European markets. The USSR's forcible annexation of Estonia in 1940 and the ensuing Nazi and Soviet occupation during World War II crippled the Estonian economy. Post-war Sovietization of life continued with the integration of Estonia's economy and industry into the USSR's centrally planned structure.

Since re-establishing independence, Estonia has styled itself as the gateway between East and West and aggressively pursued economic reform and integration with the West. Estonia's market reforms put it among the economic leaders in the former COMECON area. In 1994, Estonia became one of the first countries to adopt a flat tax, with a uniform rate of 26% regardless of personal income. In January 2005, the personal income tax rate was reduced to 24%. Another reduction to 23% followed in January 2006. The income tax rate was decreased to 21% by January 2008. The Government of Estonia finalized the design of Estonia's euro coins in late 2004, and was intending to adopt the euro as the country's currency on January 1, 2011, later than planned due to continued high inflation. Estonia is acceding to the euroarea in 2011.

In 1999, Estonia experienced its worst year economically since it regained independence in 1991, largely because of the impact of the 1998 Russian financial crisis. Estonia joined the WTO in November 1999. With assistance from the European Union, the World Bank and the Nordic Investment Bank, Estonia completed most of its preparations for European Union membership by the end of 2002 and now has one of the strongest economies of the new member states of the European Union.

A balanced budget, almost non-existent public debt, flat-rate income tax, free trade regime, fully convertible currency backed by currency board and a strong peg to the euro, competitive commercial banking sector, innovative e-Services and even mobile-based services are all hallmarks of Estonia's free-market-based economy.

Geography:
Estonia's land border with Latvia runs 267 kilometers; the Russian border runs 290 kilometers. From 1920 to 1945, Estonia's border with Russia, set by the 1920 Tartu Peace Treaty, extended beyond the Narva River in the northeast and beyond the town of Pechory (Petseri) in the southeast.

Estonia lies on the eastern shores of the Baltic Sea immediately across the Gulf of Finland from Finland on the level northwestern part of the rising east European platform between 57.3 and 59.5 N and 21.5 and 28.1 E. Average elevation reaches only 50 meters (164 ft) and the country's highest point is the Suur Munamgi in the southeast at 318 meters (1,043 ft). There is 3,794 kilometers (2,357 mi) of coastline marked by numerous bays, straits, and inlets. The number of islands and islets is estimated at some 1,500. Two of them are large enough to constitute separate counties: Saaremaa and Hiiumaa. A small, recent cluster of meteorite craters, the largest of which is called Kaali is found on Saaremaa, Estonia.

Government:
The Government of Estonia (Estonian: Vabariigi Valitsus) or the executive branch is formed by the Prime Minister of Estonia, nominated by the president and approved by the parliament. The government exercises executive power pursuant to the Constitution of Estonia and the laws of the Republic of Estonia and consists of 12 ministers, including the prime minister. The prime minister also has the right to appoint other ministers, whom he or she will assign with a subject to deal with and who will not have a ministry to control, becoming a minister without portfolio who currently is the Minister of Regions.

The prime minister has the right to appoint a maximum of 3 such ministers, as the limit of ministers in one government is 15. It is also known as the cabinet. The cabinet carries out the country's domestic and foreign policy, shaped by parliament; it directs and co-ordinates the work of government institutions and bears full responsibility for everything occurring within the authority of executive power. The government, headed by the Prime Minister, thus represents the political leadership of the country and makes decisions in the name of the whole executive power.

Language:
The Estonian language belongs to the Finnic branch of the Uralic languages. Estonian is thus closely related to Finnish, spoken on the other side of the Gulf of Finland, and is one of the few languages of Europe that is not of an Indo-European origin. Despite some overlaps in the vocabulary due to borrowings, in terms of its origin, Estonian is not related to its nearest neighbours, Swedish, Latvian and Russian, which are all Indo-European languages. Russian is widely spoken as a secondary language by thirty- to seventy-year-old ethnic Estonians, because Russian was the unofficial language of the Estonian SSR from 1944 to 1991 and taught as a compulsory second language during the Soviet era. Most first and second generation of industrial immigrants from various parts of the former Soviet Union (mainly Russia (RSFSR)) do not speak Estonian.

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