Embassy of the U.S., Tallinn
The sometimes humorous year-end awards released by Eastern Approaches, the blog run by The Economist have been published. Apart from the more light-hearted awards, Estonia has more seriously been named country of the year. As of January 1, 2011, when Estonia joins the Eurozone, it will be one of only two countries that will actually meet the Maastricht Criteria in regards to both its national debt and its deficit rules. The other member that fulfils these criteria is Luxembourg. As the writers of the blog state, "For a country that emerged battered and blinking from Soviet occupation not quite [twenty] years ago, being the only country to meet the main rules of the continent's main clubs is a triumph."
The Eurozone is indeed one of the continent's most important institutions, NATO is another. This is another association where Estonia stands head and shoulders above many of its much larger and wealthier neighbours and fellow alliance members. The target defense expenditure for Alliance members is two percent of their gross domestic product. With its allocation of 1.9 percent of its GDP to defense in 2011, Estonia is well on track towards this goal. Estonia's economic discipline and the responsibility with which it has approached its international obligations continue to serve as an example across Europe, and indeed the entire world. We congratulate Estonia on its recognition and echo the sentiments behind it.
Estonia: The Little Country That Does