Estonia is a parliamentary republic. Its head of government - the prime minister - is nominated by the president and approved by parliament. He or she is in charge of the executive power vested in government. The head of state - the president - is elected by Parliament or electoral college for 5 years. The Parliament has 101 members, elected every 4 years. The country is divided into 15 counties and 79 municipalities.
The most important sectors of Estonia’s economy in 2016 were wholesale and retail trade, transport, accommodation and food services (2.7%), industry (20.7%) and public administration, defence, education, human health and social work activities (16.4%).
Intra-EU trade accounts for 74% of Estonia’s exports (Sweden 18%, Finland 16% and Latvia 9%), while outside the EU 7% go to Russia and 4% to Norway.
In terms of imports, 82% come from EU Member States (Finland 13%, Germany 11% and Lithuania 9%), while outside the EU 6% come from Russia and 3% from the United States.
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:
The following link is a redirection to an external websiteCurrent presidency of the Council of the EU
The Commission is represented in each EU country by a local office, called a "representation".
Estonia has 6 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 6 representatives on the European 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 2017:
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.