Bloomberg News

Estonians Oppose Participation in Euro Rescue Fund, Poll Shows

October 13, 2011

(See EXT4 for more on the sovereign debt crisis.)

Oct. 13 (Bloomberg) -- A majority of Estonians oppose their country’s involvement in the euro area’s temporary bailout fund, which has channeled aid to Ireland and Portugal, a poll showed.

Fifty-eight percent of respondents in the poll by Tallinn- based research company Turu-Uuringute AS said Estonia shouldn’t guarantee loans made by the European Financial Stability Facility, while 28 percent favored participation and 14 percent were undecided. The survey of 998 people, conducted in the second half of September and published today, had a margin of error of 3 percentage points.

In an agreement on expanding the EFSF, Estonia committed to guarantee 2 billion euros ($2.8 billion) of the fund’s 780 billion-euro capacity. That’s 14 percent of the former Soviet republic’s 14.3 billion-euro economy. All the euro states except Slovakia have ratified the changes.

Estonian lawmakers approved the EFSF expansion agreement on Sept. 29 with the support of 59 lawmakers in the 101-member legislature. The Turu-Uuringute poll is the first to gauge public opinion on the issue.

Euro adoption in January has helped Estonia distance itself from all but the strongest European economies in terms of credit risk. Its robust economic growth in the first half, the fastest in the 27-member European Union, can at least partly be attributed to joining the euro, the government and central bank have said.

Forty-nine percent of respondents in the poll said Estonia should stick with the euro, while 37 percent supported a return to the national currency.

--Editors: Patrick G. Henry, Jones Hayden

To contact the reporter on this story: Ott Ummelas in Tallinn at oummelas@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Balazs Penz at bpenz@bloomberg.net


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