Establishing a special economic zone for Ida-Viru County is one of a series of proposals put forward by Minister of Culture Tõnis Lukas to speed up the development of the area.
In a letter sent to the Ministry of Finance, Lukas noted the Ministry of Culture has made a selection of activities that have emerged from ideas hatched in the past one and a half years in Ida-Viru County that deserve further development. ERR selected some of the ideas proposed by the minister in the Ida-Viru Action Plan.
Establishment of a Special Economic Zone
In order to stimulate the entrepreneurial activity of the region, it is necessary to create a special economic zone in Ida-Viru County, including tax incentives and other measures to promote entrepreneurship.
Increasing public ownership of housing
In order to make the urban environment more attractive, it is necessary to organize and develop the housing stock. Increasing public participation in the housing sector, e.g through a state guarantee for loans is one way that has been suggested. The social housing policy also needs to be tested.
Old production buildings should be demolished
To make the urban environment more attractive, it is necessary to demolish unused industrial buildings and empty buildings and / or to provide new functions (such as Tallinn's Telliskivi).
Headquarters of state-owned enterprises move to in Ida-Viru County
Moving headquarters of state-owned enterprises, such as Eesti Energia, to Ida-Viru County and the transfer or creation of other Estonian-language public sector positions must be put on the agenda again.
In addition to the area of internal security, it is worth setting regional salary bases for health care, education and other areas in order to bring more qualified Estonian-speaking workforce to the region.
More nationwide cultural and sporting events
Support for the implementation of cultural and sports projects with a national impact must be increased. Also supporting cultural events initiated by Estonian cultural figures in Ida-Viru County. Support for the creation and further development of regional sports facilities needs to be increased.
Secure financing of Narva Free Stage
In the context of the Ida-Viru County Action Plan, the Narva Theater Center of the Free Stage Foundation also needs constant support.
Supporting the exploration of new mineral resources
Consideration should be given to supporting new mineral exploration and technological development projects based on the need for industrial restructuring.
Increasing the share of public schools
In general education, the share of public schools in Ida-Viru County, in addition to language immersion schools and state gymnasiums, could be considered. There has also been a radical idea of the nationalization of municipal schools to improve the quality, Estonian language and language of education.
IT University in Ida-Viru County
Regional colleges in Ida-Viru County deserve additional support. The discussion on the possibilities of creating an IT university in Ida-Viru County should be re-started.
The September 29, 2019 Cabinet meeting addressed the backwardness of Ida-Viru County from Estonia's overall level of development and additional future challenges arising from the pressure of oil shale power restructuring in the region. The government agreed on steps by the ministries to find additional opportunities to accelerate the development of Ida-Viru. The ministries were invited to propose additional activities in the updated Ida-Viru Action Plan.
Editor: Helen Wright