When a country joins the IMF, it allows the fund and its member states to carry out surveillance of its economic and financial policies. Country surveillance, including surveillance of Estonia, is an ongoing process that culminates in regular, usually annual, comprehensive consultations with individual member countries known as Article IV consultations. The IMF mission for the Article IV consultation conducts a two-week visit to Estonia, in the course of which it meets Eesti Pank, governmental authorities, politicians, private sector companies, and economic analysts. During the consultations, the IMF works independently to analyse the state of the national economy, and gives an expert opinion with advice on fiscal policy, financial sector policy and structural policy. The recommendations that result from the consultations are published in the Article IV report.
As a member state, Estonia made use of the IMF’s Stand-by Arrangements on six occasions to aid the economic transition after independence was regained, but no actual loan has been taken since 1995. Before each loan agreement was signed, a very specific economic programme was put together by the government and Eesti Pank to set the main goals for the programme period and decide the tools that would be needed to achieve those goals. The economic programmes of the government and Eesti Pank that accompanied the loan agreements with the IMF have been the most specific in defining the directions of Estonian economic policy and the tools needed to achieve the goals that have been set. Estonia’s last Precautionary Stand-by Arrangement (PSBA) with the IMF expired in August 2001.