Estonia and the Czech Republic may not seem to have that much in common in a first place. However, some facts allow bringing both countries closer, especially since their integration in the European Union in 2004. As a matter a fact, 10 countries integrated the EU in 2004 and and thus were forced to face the problem posed by the need to adapt national policies to the European commission requirements. Let’s see how both countries managed to be considered 10 years later as equals in the European family.
Europeanization of eastern countries
To become a member of the EU implies many radical changes that aim for the homogenization of various already established policies, for instance by performing institutional transfers. Eastern european countries such as Estonia and the Czech Republic have a similar political past that was dominated by communism: in Czech Republic, the Velvet revolution in 1989 allowed the country to break free as the Czechoslovak socialist party collapsed. Estonia claimed its independence some years later, in 1991, as the country was under the Russian army’s occupation and fully integrated as a part of the USSR. As a result, the nationalization of most institutions after the fall of the communist regime left a trace on the actual industry and points out the preference given to national companies. Therefore, after their integration on the EU, Estonia and Czech Republic were forced to give a priority to the trade with other members of the community in order to liberalize their economies.
Results of 10 years of membership in the EU
Skype, Škoda, Pilsner Urquell: who never heard about those widely famous brands? As a matter of fact, Estonia and the Czech Republic‘s exports keep on increasing thanks to a sectored specialization and the recent opening to the European market. Indeed, even though both countries may export different types of products, the industry is playing an essential role in their economies. The sector employs about 39% Czech workers and 32% of the Estonians. On another hand, the provision of services’ sector has been exponentially growing since 1989 and increased by 52% in about 20 years. In Czech Republic the sector corresponds to 55.5% of the employment and 56% of the BIP.
As already mentioned, the exchanges increased following the integration in the EU, as Estonia and the Czech Republic are exchanging mainly with other members, but also between each other: indeed, Škoda is a popular car brand in Estonia, in particular the Octavia model which is one of the most popular cars. Estonia is also importing industrial machines (mostly machine tools), Czech beer, food goods, and Bohemia glass that happen to be particularly appreciated in Baltic countries.
From an economical point of view, both countries are in terms of exchanges recent members of the EU, but have shown a surprising national growth. Despite the liberalization of their economies, the focus on national companies is a policy inherited from the past and thereby a gut-wrenching reminder of the tough times both countries went through.