Neste artigo da revista Economist, pode-se ler:
PLUNGING unemployment, rocketing growth, soaring exports and a budget surplus: that is the story of Estonia as it bounces back from a precipitous economic collapse. This burst of good news shows not only the virtues of flexibility and austerity (a sensitive subject, as other euro countries taste the same medicine); it also gives heart to Latvia and Lithuania.
Estonia’s GDP growth rate in the first quarter of the year was 8.5%, the highest in the European Union. It boasts the biggest drop in unemployment, from 18.8% to 13.8%. It has the lowest debt in the EU, of just 6.6% of GDP; measured by the price of credit-default swaps, it is among the ten best sovereign risks in Europe. Fitch, a rating agency, has just raised Estonia’s standing to A+.
Strong export growth (up by 53% year-on-year in May) and industrial production (up 26%) reflect in part soaring production of mobile-phone kit at the country’s largest exporter, Ericsson. But the recovery is broader-based. Eva-Maria Ounapuu of Joik, which makes “simple, Nordic, minimalist” cosmetics, says the recession made consumers turn to local products. Now that this market is “all but saturated”, she is starting to export.
Policymakers in all three Baltic countries feel vindicated: during the crisis many outsiders told them to unpeg their currencies from the euro. Instead they pressed ahead with “internal devaluation”, meaning whopping fiscal adjustments (9% of GDP in Estonia’s case) and big cuts in nominal wages. Yet long-term competitiveness is still a concern. Although inflation is slowing, the central bank in Tallinn worries about overheating. The previous boom brought double-digit growth and reckless lending, followed by a construction bust and a 14% fall in GDP. Estonians hope that the banks (almost all foreign-owned) have learned from the past.
Porque é que a Europa não segue os bons exemplos?