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Estonia is the most northerly of the three Baltic States and is a predominantly flat country on the eastern shores of the Baltic Sea.
The most important sectors of Estonia’s economy in 2012 were wholesale and retail trade, transport, accommodation and food services (22.2 %), industry (21.2 %) and public administration, defence, education, human health and social work activities (14.4 %).
Estonia’s main export partners are Sweden, Finland and Russia, while its main import partners are Finland, Germany and Sweden.
Geographical size: 45 227.0 km2
Population: 1 325 217 (2012)
Population as % of total EU population: 0.3 % (2012)
GDP: € 17.415 billion (2012)
Official EU language: Estonian
Political system: parliamentary republic
EU member country since: 1 May 2004
Seats in the European Parliament: 6
Currency: Eurozone member since 1 January 2011
Passport-free travel? Yes, Schengen Area member since 1 May 2004
Presidency of the Council: Estonia will hold the revolving presidency of the Council of the EU for the first time in the first half of 2018.
In the Council of the EU, national ministers meet regularly to adopt EU laws and coordinate policies. Council meetings are regularly attended by representatives from the Estonian government, depending on the policy area being addressed.
The Council of the EU doesn't have a permanent, single-person president (like, for example, the Commission or Parliament). Instead, its work is led by the country holding the Council presidency, which rotates every 6 months.
During these 6 months, ministers from that country's government chair and help determine the agenda of Council meetings in each policy area, and facilitate dialogue with the other EU institutions.
Dates of Estonian presidencies:
More on the current presidency of the Council of the EU.
The Commission is represented in each EU country by a local office, called a "representation".
Estonia has 7 representatives on the European Economic and Social Committee. This advisory body – representing employers, workers and other interest groups – is consulted on proposed laws, to get a better idea of the possible changes to work and social situations in member countries.
Estonia has 7 representatives on the Committee of the Regions, the EU's assembly of regional and local representatives. This advisory body is consulted on proposed laws, to ensure these laws take account of the perspective from each region of the EU.
Estonia also communicates with the EU institutions through its permanent representation in Brussels. As Estonia's "embassy to the EU", its main task is to ensure that the country's interests and policies are pursued as effectively as possible in the EU.
Member countries' financial contributions to the EU budget are shared fairly, according to means. The larger your country's economy, the more it pays – and vice versa. The EU budget doesn't aim to redistribute wealth, but rather to focus on the needs of all Europeans as a whole.
Breakdown of Estonia’s finances with the EU in 2012:
More figures on the EU budget, revenue and spending:
The money paid into the EU budget by Estonia helps fund programmes and projects in all EU countries - like building roads, subsidising researchers and protecting the environment.
Find out more about how Estonia benefits from EU funding.