It has been a year since Estonia adopted the euro but its fortunes have not mirrored the rest of the eurozone.
According to the European Union’s forecast, Estonia’s economy will grow by a massive eight percent in 2011 – that is five times faster than the EU as a whole. Unemployment has dropped dramatically but the outlook for next year remains uncertain.
Shopping centre manager, Erkii Erilaid said: “There was a sharp decline in unemployment which increased demand and this gave retailers a reason to increase prices, of course people don’t like it very much so we’re not very happy with the new currency.”
But one shopper expressed dismay over the new currency: “I have a small pension which I used to pay the rent, medicines and everything else so this euro is difficult to get used to. Shopping is now much more expensive.”
Since its economy plunged in the 2008 financial crisis, Estonia’s recovery has been remarkable. Eurozone membership has restored investor confidence but the deep debt crisis elsewhere risks stunting its revival.