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Europe’s relief after Estonia election

Monday, March 02, 2015 - 01:55

Estonia's centre-right prime minister has claimed victory in an election, cementing pro-NATO policies. As Amy Pollock reports the campaign in one of the euro zone's newest members was dominated by fears of interference by neighbouring Russia.

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Another neighbour of Russia has turned towards Europe. Estonia's centre-right prime minister claimed victory in Sunday's election. Taavi Roivas, the leader of the Reform Party, is set to form a coalition government after winning 30 seats in parliament. His victory will be a relief for the rest of Europe which feared Russia's influence over the former Soviet state. (SOUNDBITE) (English) PRIME MINISTER OF ESTONIA, TAAVI ROIVAS, SAYING : "We do believe that Estonia needs to be taken forward; Estonia has enjoyed a lot of success economically. We have been very open to our allies and we want to continue that path." The election campaign had been dominated by fears of interference from Russia after Moscow's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region. A quarter of Estonia's 1.3 million population speak Russian and they largely supported the Centre Party, which signed a cooperation deal with President Putin in 2004. Russian military aircraft have also breached Estonia's airspace more frequently in recent months. Jermey Stretch is an currency strategist at CIBC. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CIBC FX STRATEGIST, JEREMY STRETCH, SAYING: "Investors will clearly be using Estonia, or events in Estonia as something of a microcosm for the Baltic states in general, where we have seen significant interest in recent years in the wake of them moving away from the Russian state." Roivas is also pro-Nato and favours a free market. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CIBC FX STRATEGIST, JEREMY STRETCH, SAYING: "I think that will assuage some market concerns, but clearly there is still a groundswell of support for much more pro-Russian and ethnic Russian policies." A new government will hope to continue economic policies which have seen Estonia beat its European neighbours. Public sector debt is just 9.6 percent - compared with Greece's 175 percent. And unemployment has more than halved to 7.4% since the economy rebounded from recession in 2010.

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Europe’s relief after Estonia election

Monday, March 02, 2015 - 01:55