A new department, which is to deal with civil society and adaptation policy, aimed at new migrants, is to be created within the portfolio of Estonian Population Minister Riina Solman (Isamaa), daily newspaper Postimees reports.
The departments currently within Solman's area of administration at the Ministry of the Interior are the population and family policy department, the population facts department and the religious affairs department.
The establishment of the new department will separate the issues of civil society and adaptation policy from the citizenship and migration policy department of the Ministry of the Interior. A similar change was made for setting up the population and family policy department, the daily writes.
Family policy, which had been within the area of administration of the Ministry of Social Affairs for years, was relocated to Solman's portfolio at the Ministry of the Interior at the will of the current government. With this, two jobs positions in the children and families department of the Ministry of Social Affairs, which is now named the department of child well-being, were also relocated.
When asked what the new department will deal with, Raivo Kuut, deputy secretary general for population, civil society and family policy at the Ministry of the Interior, said adaptation policy will address newly-arrived migrants."The aim of the policy is to develop a flexible, up-to-date and effective system of comprehensive support services for the adaptation and integration of foreigners that supports the development of the Estonian state and facilitates the learning of the Estonian language and acquisition of culture among newly-arrived migrants," Kuut said.
He added that, as a result of successful adaptation, people are familiar with Estonian customs, practices, culture, language, administration and services and are able to effectively contribute to the development of the Estonian economy and society.
The civil society department will, by and large, deal with everything that involves people working together on their own initiative to improve their lives and their living environment. This includes activities in non-governmental organizations (NGOs), networks or otherwise, such as volunteering.
Kuut said the department will be working, among other things, on creating a favorable environment for NGOs. This means providing them with funding, support activities and other services.
The Ministry of the Interior was unable to say whether the establishment of the civil society and adaptation policy department will involve any expenses. The position of head of department will be created but the number of ministry employees will not increase.
Editor: Helen Wright