Estonia is a pioneer in digitalization and a European startup paradise.
Even though Estonia is the smallest of the Baltic countries, it is experiencing the highest economic growth and has one of the most systematic digitization strategies.
Politically, Estonia has developed a steadfast parliamentary democracy since regaining independence. Nevertheless, party competition is fierce and governments change frequently. In addition, the population has little trust in political parties and a low level of willingness to engage in sociopolitical activities, which makes political participation difficult. Challenging factors are the integration of the large Russian minority, rising income inequality anf the poverty rate, which is far above the European average. Nevertheless, support for social reforms is low and membership in trade unions is declining, making it more difficult to assert workers' interests and social protection.
Since 2004, Estonia has been part of the EU and also NATO, which has stationed troops in Estonia in response to Crimean annexation and to protect NATO's eastern flank. The issue of security is perceived as particulary relevant and, above all, overshadowed by the perception of a threat from Russia. After a start of the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine, Estonia feels confirmed in its hard stance against Russia, and the Estonian head of government also made it clear that Putin can only be countered with strenght.
The FES is working in Estonia for solidarity-based economic reforms to counteract the trend of income inequality and attaches importance to the development of a Europan foreign anf security policy, which should help Estonia to be heard even as a small country. It is particularly important to facilitate exchange and dialogue with Germany, but also with the other Baltic and European countries. Furthermore, the FES wants to contribute to strenghtening political participation and social involvement through policy mediation and policy advice.