PM: The government will not leave the 'Estonia 2035' strategy shelved

Prime Minister Jüri Ratas.
Prime Minister Jüri Ratas. Source: ERR

The principles stipulated in this development strategy help us remain ourselves as people and as a nation even in the most difficult situations, PM Jüri Ratas said in a political statement made when handing over to the Riigikogu the "Estonia 2035" strategy.

This strategy has been in the works for over two years and includes the contribution of around 17,000 people because Estonia's long-term vision requires a broad-based debate. Those two years have seen some 30 workshops held in different places all over the country that have allowed many Estonian people to voice their opinion, in addition to politicians, officials and civil society organizations.

The process of compiling "Estonia 2035" has been more open than is common for policy documents and I hope that this kind of joint drafting will become the new norm in the future. A safe country that listens to its people is our common goal.

"Estonia 2035" serves as the foundation for the decisions we make over the next 15 years in every way. It is a strategy to support government and Riigikogu cooperation that ties together strategic planning and policy shaping in all fields, as well as funding principles.

"Estonia 2035" is integrated with Europe's half-year economic coordination, serves as a basis for EU fund planning and plots a course for realizing global sustainable development goals in Estonia. The aim of the strategy is to make sure Estonia would be a safe and democratic country also in the future and one where the viability of the Estonian language, nation and culture is guaranteed.

When we collected opinions over the internet and with people filling out forms in libraries as part of drafting the "Estonia 2035" strategy, we were given certainty that the people of Estonia want to inhabit a country that is safe, free, environmentally friendly, open and human-centered.

Those are the wishes that have been phrased as the core principles and strategic goals of the strategy to be kept in mind when making decisions. Even in situations where we might feel a decision's effect is short-term or when there is very little time in which to decide because unexpected situations do happen, keeping one's eye on the horizon matters.

"Estonia 2035" prescribes five equally important strategic goals: Estonia is home to wise, active and health-conscious people; the Estonian society is caring, cooperative and open; Estonia sports a safe and high-quality living environment that considers everyone's needs; the Estonian economy is strong, innovative and responsible; Estonia is an innovative, trustworthy and human-centered country.

It would be insensible to overlook these goals in our attempts to boost the vitality of the Estonian people, language and culture and promote a democratic and safe state. /.../

These are not just grand words but real goals to keep in mind when making decisions. Both in the government and the Riigikogu.

Estonia is a free and safe country but, taking a look in the mirror, we must admit that health-promoting environmental solutions and people's risk behavior are areas where we still have a long road ahead of us to narrow the gap between life expectancy and healthy years to fewer than 20. We must also be prepared to take advantage of opportunities offered by an aging society – every fourth Estonian resident will be over the age of 65 in 15 years' time.

These constitute opportunities if we give meaning to our choices with the future in mind right away. So that our choices do not just take us to the future but get us there prepared and confident. Estonians deserves a competitive country with a knowledge-based society and economy.

"Estonia 2035" does not solve all problems we will face over the next 15 years, while I am convinced that the principles agreed upon in this development strategy will help us remain ourselves as people and as a state in the most difficult situations. These future-oriented goals will help us turn touchstones into opportunities.

I wish the Riigikogu well-considered and substantial "Estonia 2035" deliberations. For my part, I promise that the government will not leave "Estonia 2035" collecting dust on a shelf. /.../

Our proposal is for every minister to give the Riigikogu an annual overview of how achieving the goals of the development strategy has progressed in their administrative area. As prime minister, I will also share with you what I know of our progress – as well as where we need to catch up – after both the state budget strategy and the state budget have been handed over to the parliament.

The "Estonia 2035" strategy will be realized through departmental development plans and programs. It can be used as a basis for strategic planning by local government units and public, nonprofit and private sector organizations.

I hope that your "Estonia 2035" deliberation will be comprehensive. Estonia deserves having the most progressive and inclusive ideas and those with the potential to increase our influence in the world included in its future strategy.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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