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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Political and economic situation


1.Political, social and economic background and trends

1.4Political and economic situation

Last update: 27 November 2023
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The Government of the Republic is appointed by the President within 3 days after receiving a respective mandate from the Riigikogu or after the candidate for Prime Minister set up by the Riigikogu has presented him or her with the composition of the government.

According to the constitution, the Government of the Republic directs and coordinates the activities of governmental institutions. Governmental institutions comprise ministries, the state Chancellery and county governments as well as administrations and inspectorates and their local institutions authorised to represent executive state power.

There are 11 ministries in Estonia. Each ministry fulfils the tasks deriving from law and assigned by the Government of the Republic, and is the superior institution to administrations, inspectorates and other state organisations under its jurisdiction. The jurisdictions of ministries are established by the Riigikogu pursuant to the Government of the Republic Act.

Since regaining independence in 1991, Estonia has had 17 governments, all of which have been coalition governments comprising representatives of many political parties. There are 10 parties in Estonia. The largest of them, Keskerakond, Reformierakond, Isamaa, Sotsiaaldemokraatlik Erakond and Eestimaa Konservatiivne Rahvaerakond have also most frequently been the coalition members in different combinations.   

Estonian main economic goals have been laid down in the competitiveness strategy “Estonia 2020” adopted in 2013. The goals set out in the strategy conform to the objectives of Europe 2020 strategy agreed by the European Union countries and to the responsibilities which Estonia has under the Euro Plus Pact agreed at the European Council meeting in March 2011.

Estonia 2020 has been built on two central problems: decrease in the working-age population and comparatively cheap products and services. Further development of Estonian economy depends on how efficiently the country can tackle these issues.  

Having the future growth in mind, Estonia set two main objectives for the reform plan “Estonia 2020”:

  • To achieve a rapid productivity growth through both a higher capital intensity and provision of products and services with a higher added value,
  • To restore the pre-economic crisis high employment level.

In addition, the strategy set out 15 other objectives which are divided into four areas:

  • Educated people and a cohesive society
  • A competitive business environment
  • Environment-friendly economy and energetics
  • A sustainable and adaptive state

One of the priorities of all the governments has been the promotion of education and research.

According to Statistics Estonia, in 2019, the gross domestic product (GDP) of Estonia increased by 4.3% compared to 2018.

In 2019, GDP at current prices was 28 billion Euros.

In 2019, Estonian economic growth was over 4% for the third year in a row. The biggest contributors to the growth, which involved most of the sectors, were information and communication, wholesale and retail trade as well as professional, scientific and technical activities. Over the year, the contribution of processing industry and agriculture in the economic growth increased as well. Overall, during the year, only the energy sector put a brake on the economic growth.




Population by age group, 1 January 2000, 2005, 2009, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018

2018145,875129,524159,976188, 315263,639173,422258,382

Source: Statistics Estonia.  25/10/2018

Prognosis of population number (on the basis of 2014 data)

January 1, 20131,320,000
January 1, 20181,319,133

Source: Statistics Estonia.  25.10.2018


Births, deaths and natural increase, 2000, 2005, 2010, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017

YearBirthsDeathsNatural increase
201015,82515,790 35

Source: Statistics Estonia.   25.10.2018

Migration of population, 2005, 2010, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017


Source: Statistics Estonia.  25.10.2018

Level of education of population aged 15-74, (%) 2000, 2005, 2010, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017

First level of education or lower25.222.519.715.615.517.817.7
Second level of education51.450.451.051.651.148.547.8
Third level of education23.427.129.332.833.433.734.5

Source: Statistics Estonia.   25.10.2018

Labour status of population aged 15-69, 2000, 2005, 2010, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017

Labour force, thousand680.5663.9673.3666.1675.5682.3690.6
   employed, thousands580.4610.1560.0616.6633.4635.8650.4
   unemployed, thousands100.053.8113.649.542.146.540.2
Inactive persons, thousands333.3333.5289.9264.5251.1245.7232.9
Total, population aged 15-69, thousands1013.8999.4963.4930.6926.6928.0923.5
Labour participation rate, %67.166.469.971.672.973.574.8
Employment rate, %57.361.058.166.368.468.570.4
Unemployment rate, %

Source: Statistics Estonia.  25.10.2018

Gross Domestic Product (GDP), 2013-2017

GDP at current prices, million euro18,932.319,766,320,347.721,098.323,603.4

Change of GDP chain-linked volume compared to the

same period of the previous year (%)
GDP at current prices per capita, euros14,364.415,036.615,478.116,034.717,925.8

Source: Statistics Estonia., 25.10.2018