How Do the Baltic Countries Cope?

It is time for an update on the economic developments in the Baltic countries. Official GDP numbers for the third quarter of 2009 have recently been published and a clearer picture emerges. I have been asked by many foreigners how the Baltic countries look these days. The foreigners ask whether unemployed and poor people hang around in the streets and whether people are gearing up to protest against the economic crisis and the actions of their leaders. I live in Estonia and travel regularly in the two other Baltic countries, so it is my hope that I can contribute with some personal experiences from the ground. I do not want to downplay the seriousness of the economic downturn, but I will argue that the situation in the Baltics might be less bleak than the statistics suggest.

What is wrong with corrective taxation?

The head of the British Financial Supervision Authority, Lord Turner, has set off a storm after his remarks on the front page of Financial Times on Thursday 27 August. After having spent endless hours trying to clean up the mess left in the City of London and elsewhere in the British financial system, he has […]

Update from the Baltic countries

I thought it was time with an update from the Baltic region. As small open economies, the Baltic countries have also been hit by the global financial crisis although the region has until now avoided the biggest tidal waves. As a matter of fact, many of the problems in the Baltics predate the recent financial crisis.

Oh no, the Lisbon Treaty again

On 12 June 2008 the Irish voted no to the Lisbon Treaty and threw the European Union into yet another political crisis. Already the next day my co-blogger Philip Lane discussed some reasons for the no vote. The big question mark hanging over the Irish EU referendum is whether the voters have actually decided on […]

Inflation in the Baltics: on its way down?

Each month Eurostat arranges a new round of the unofficial competition in “consumer price inflation” as it publishes a new round of inflation figures for the 27 EU countries. For a while the three Baltic countries have dominated in the top (or bottom as you like it!) with inflation rates substantially above the levels seen […]

Where are the Baltic Tigers heading?

The Baltic countries have been bestowed with several nicknames to portray the spectacular economic success of the region since the mid-1990s. The weekly The Economist introduced the term ‘Lynx economies’ and others have talked about a ‘Baltic Miracle’, but the ‘Baltic Tigers’ is probably the most lasting idiom. In all cases, the moniker express the […]

The EU should remove all custom duties and trade restrictions!

The recently completed World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, ended in a sombre mood. The rich and the powerful (incl. those aspiring to these roles) had the party spoiled by the subprime crisis, a creeping American downturn and high oil prices. Still, a much overlooked outcome of the Forum was a renewed impetus in the […]

Why the Maastricht inflation criterion has become harder to satisfy

The ECB seems to be getting things right these days. The inflation rate in the eurozone is stable even in the current situation with exploding energy prices and the eurozone economies picking up. Slovenia entered the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) in January this year, and Malta and Cyprus are following suit on the first […]