The two words are usually pronounced with "ye" : (i)eu , (i)este. It's a short "i" , just because it's easier to pronounce.
The same happens with "el" (he) and "ea" (she) - pronounced (i)el and (i)a. ( "ea" is pronounced almost like "yeah" )
It is not a mistake to pronounce "e" like in egg , but it is a bit uncomfortable to pronounce and it sounds forced .
However, i think that "eu, este, el, ea" are exceptions : most of the words that start with "e-" are pronounced with "e - egg" (element, electric , exemplu , exercițiu ....).
So in short: pronounce "ye" for the short words , and "e - egg" for the long words.