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Estonia

Yearbook 1997

Estonia. After a government crisis that was resolved at the end of 1996, Toomas H. Ilves became the new Estonian Foreign Minister. In early 1997, he launched an intensive campaign for Estonian membership in the EU, prioritizing the unenviable issue of NATO membership. The EU came to be the dominant issue in Estonian politics during the year and what really everything else revolved around.

1997 Estonia

According to Countryaah, a preliminary response to Estonia's campaign came in July when the EU Commission proposed negotiations on membership with Estonia and five other countries (expanded in December with additional countries). As far as NATO is concerned, the Baltic countries were mentioned in the final declaration of the summit in July, but all possible negotiations were postponed indefinitely.

Prime Minister Tiit Vähi was forced to resign in February after it was revealed that he had acquired several apartments in central Tallinn on questionable grounds. He was replaced by Mart Siimann from the Collection Party (Koonderakond).

On May 1, the visa requirement between Estonia and Sweden and Finland was abolished. The largest privatization deal to date was carried out when the large shipping company Eesti Merelaevandus was sold to a group of Estonian financiers with partners in Norway and the United States.

In September, a serious accident occurred during a military exercise, when 14 soldiers drowned.

The economy showed strong growth - GDP improved 12% in the first half of the year compared to the previous year. However, the stock market crisis hit hard. The prices fell by 55% from the highest to the lowest level. However, the bottom record was still around 40% higher than the rates at the beginning of the year due to the hysterical "stock market rally" during the summer. No major difficulties are predicted to follow on the stock market race, apart from lower prices for primarily bank shares.

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