Narva has turned down a EU funds program for developing slums in urban areas, citing different priorities for the city. Other cities in Ida-Viru County have a chance to seize the opportunity.
Brought to the Narva city officials attention by the Ministry of Interior, the EU's structural funds for the 2014-2020 period offer a chance to improve physical, economic and social conditions in distressed neighborhoods, Eesti Päevaleht reported.
Estonia has not yet utilized such a program, used in other European countries to spruce up districts with a poor reputation. The program has also been used to revitalize city centers that tend to have fewer residents.
In an official letter to the interior ministry, the City of Narva said focusing on certain city districts alone was not a priority. Instead emphasis should be put on developing a regional visitors center, it said, boosting tourism and developing entrepreneurship. City officials mentioned in the letter the said program should be a good match for Kohtla-Järve and Jõhvi areas.
Kohtla-Järve Mayor Jevgeni Solovjov said the Ministry of the Interior had not yet notified the city of this program. He said many districts had been abandoned and people are unlikely to return to them when no new jobs are created.
The initial sum offered by the EU is 10 million euros and could be changed later. The final decision to use EU funds to develop such areas is left to the city governments.