A short version of messaging that considers business/tourism/investment community requirements as well as the security situation
Estonia is the most advanced digital democracy in the world. We share our learnings and support others around the globe. Our decentralized digital systems are our strength.
Estonia has become a wealthy economy that leads Europe in startups and unicorns per capita and attracts the attention of global blue-chip investors and asset managers.
Estonia’s education system is one of the best in Europe as the focus is set on digital skills – and it is a resounding success (proven by best performance of Estonian students in Europe, resulting in a high overall ranking in PISA tests).
All of Estonia’s political parties are Western-oriented, and the participation in politics, civil society, elections and military service is high.
Estonia is committed to defending every inch of NATO territory as a full and active member of the alliance that consistently spends well above the minimum level of defence spending (a GDP contribution to national defence that is approaching 2.5%), contributes to international peace keeping operations, and provides specialist value in areas such as cyber security (NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence HQ in Tallinn).
Internationally renowned restaurant ranking system the Michelin Guide has reached Estonia and the positive impact of this step on Estonia’s tourism exports and reputation will be long-lasting.
Messaging when asked: what is it like in Estonia right now?
Answer: Estonia is doing very well! Estonia is a member and contributor to NATO, the European Union and the Eurozone, it has a strong economy, a booming technology sector and cohesive society. NATO has taken steps to reinforce its Eastern Flank and will do more. But we are worried about the ongoing war in Europe as a matter of principle and we need to work together with NATO Allies as well as EU to deter adversaries and actively defend peace in Europe.
Messaging for business/investment/tourism stakeholders outside Estonia that that have doubts about the security situation in the region
Estonia is the most advanced digital democracy in the world that works to be a leading nation of the future, sharing its learnings and supporting others – only natural to a nation that has no hierarchies and is very networked. Thanks to a safe, convenient, and flexible digital ecosystem, Estonia has reached an unprecedented level of transparency in governance and built broad trust in its digital society. As a result, Estonia has become a hassle-free environment for business and entrepreneurship. A world leading cyber security, mandatory interoperability of all systems, e-healthcare, e-tax, e-banking and much more, have completely released the creativity of Estonia’s entrepreneurial people from the restraints of unnecessary bureaucracy.
Estonia is also one of the freest nations on the globe, ranking 18th among the 210 countries in the Freedom House annual index, where a strong constitution, courts and rule of law protect the civil liberties and political rights of its people. Its economy, investments and trade are wholly into the European Single Market, Western Europe and Scandinavia. Estonia’s exposure to Russian supply chains or the sanctions regime is minuscule – only 2% of the value added in Estonia is directly or indirectly connected to supply chains that have a Russian component.
Estonia’s achievements are pushing the country towards the next growth spurt – a continuously outperforming GDP growth, a diversified service economy, and a runaway startup scene have brought blue-chip global investors’ (including Blackstone, Apollo, Sequoia, Partners Group, EQT, Apax, CVC and others) increased attention to Estonian businesses. Estonia’s GDP per capita has already grown to be one of the highest among nations with our shared history and stands now between Spain and Portugal in Europe. (As a comparison, the figure is 2.3 times larger than that of Russia or 6.3 times larger than that in Ukraine. Geography is not fate.)
Estonia relies on both, soft and hard power for its national security through a broad dedication to the protection of our state, a modern and highly valued military service for all healthy males, and an active role in the international community of free and democratic nations through the European Union, Eurozone and NATO. In recent years, Allies have enhanced NATO’s forward presence in Estonia that was first established in 2017, with the creation of multinational battalion-size battlegroups on a rotational basis. With a permanent NATO air-policing mission in the Baltics and an additional American F-15 Strike Eagle deployment currently stationed in Estonia, allied airspace has never been safer here. Thanks to the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence headquartered in Tallinn, Estonia has shared its strengths in ICT infrastructure building and cyber defence to the whole alliance.
Estonia is a cohesive society with less political fragmentation than general in Europe. The political system is stable, and the political parties are all anchored in a Western orientation, resulting in high support for both its EU and NATO membership. The cultural and business impact of forming a sizable regional market with its close Baltic and Nordic neighbors, especially Finland and Sweden, has brought economic as well as political benefits.
Estonia’s students are the best performing in Europe according to the PISA surveys, and secondary schools and universities provide STEM education that has fertilized a world beating startup scene. Thanks to a great and accessible free education system, growth has been distributed more equally, unemployment has remained low (6.2% in 2021) and wages have been growing fast throughout the last decade. The above-mentioned approach has been the ground for one of the most vibrant and fruitful entrepreneurial scenes in Europe and the world, with most new startups as well as unicorns (Skype, Playtech, Wise, Bolt, Pipedrive, Zego, ID.me, Gelato, Veriff, and Glia) per capita. These success stories have become the norm, with startup decacorns already on the horizon.
Estonia’s near and more distant future is bright. Without resting on the laurels of yesterday, Estonia wants to be a leader of tomorrow – by integrating high standard education and innovation, world leading entrepreneurial activity in technology and through digital public services that run on artificial intelligence (and enable all residents to use a government virtual assistant for all their service-oriented public sector interactions). The first 10 unicorns and successful exits on the one hand and continuously strong STEM education on the other hand, has led Estonia to an explosion of growth in technology. Estonia is a home for all the creative talent and independent minds, where the government strives to create the best regulatory and legal environment possible for digital nomads, global talents and the businesses to come and stay here.
Estonia became the first Michelin-recognised country in the Baltics in April 2022. It is the most renowned, prestigious and longest-standing food recognition system in the world the Estonian tourism industry has been waiting for years. Having Michelin Guide in Estonia is a great recognition of our restaurant landscape, it also reduces the seasonality of travel and will contribute to the development of the Estonian food culture more broadly. Furthermore, starting from May 2022, the first Radisson Collection hotel in the Baltics opens in the heart of Tallinn. Tourism talking points
Estonia – soft and hard power
Estonia is the most advanced digital democracy in the world – only natural to a nation that has no hierarchies and is very networked. It is also one of the freest nations on the globe, ranking 18th among the 210 countries in the Freedom House annual index, where a strong constitution, courts and rule of law protect the civil liberties and political rights of its people. Its economy, investments and trade are wholly in the European Single Market, Western Europe and Scandinavia. Estonia’s exposure to Russian supply chains or the sanctions regime is minuscule – only 2% of the value added in Estonia is directly or indirectly connected to supply chains that have a Russian component.
This soft power – a unique blend of freedom, Europe’s best performing students according to the PISA survey and a strong overall foundation of STEM education has been the fertilizer for one of the most vibrant and fruitful entrepreneurial scenes in Europe and the world, with most new start-ups as well as unicorns per population.
This is all possible as Estonia stands out as a unique mesh of the post-modern and urbanized tech world, a land of which the majority is covered by forests. A land, where a world changing tech company, a university or secondary school, or a drama theater or a craft beer bar or a forest trail over moors and into a bog or even a golf course is always only 30 minutes away from wherever you are. This allows for a quality of life that is hard to access anywhere else in the world.
Estonia believes in both soft, and hard power and therefore it is deeply integrated into transatlantic security architecture. As a member of the European Union, the Eurozone and NATO, Estonia believes in the common cause of the states that these organizations envelop. In recent years, Allies have enhanced NATO’s forward presence in Estonia that was first established in 2017, with the creation of multinational battalion-size battlegroups on a rotational basis. With a permanent NATO air-policing mission in the Baltics and an additional American F-15 Strike Eagle deployment currently stationed in Estonia, allied airspace has never been safer here. Thanks to the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence headquartered in Tallinn, Estonia has shared its strengths in ICT infrastructure building and cyber defence to the whole alliance.
A more developed security narrative
Estonia is a free and prosperous country because it has always taken its security seriously.
With a solidarity based national health insurance for all that provides free healthcare for its residents, we continue to build a cohesive society.
With a well trained and equipped police force that has the vision of being the world’s absolute best, that values openness, the human touch and smart solutions and prefers co-operation to coercion, we continue to build a society of trust and mutual reliance.
With a professional standing army and a reserve military based on an 8-11 months mandatory service for all healthy males (women have also been voluntarily serving since the inception of the Estonian Defence Forces), and a defence budget of 2.3% GDP that is one of the leading contributions among advanced nations, we continue to build a culture based on shared risk and resilience. The national professional military is supplemented by the paramilitary National Defence League, which fulfils territorial defence tasks.
Estonia’s total defence doctrine where everyone has a role and a common duty, serves the society well – according to research, Estonians share a high motivation for defending their country, homes and families.
As part of the NATO collective defence alliance, Estonia has always believed in shared security and in the need to support the shared security of other members. The last quarter century has allowed Estonia to bolster its military relationships with other allies in numerous UN, EU and NATO missions. Fighting alongside its allies has been the true test of friendship. Leading from the front, Estonia, much thanks to its own learnings, has been now directing as much aid as possible to Ukraine – by some standards contributing more than anyone else per capita, and calling on other friends to do more. Estonia’s own lesson from the tragedies of its lost independence in 1939 was “never alone again” – which pushed it to become the most integrated and active part of the Western political and military arrangements in the region.