Mayor: €380 million Tallinn Hospital EU funding not likely to materialize

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A rendition of Tallinn Hospital. Source: Tallinn City Government

Estonia may not receive the full amount of the desired €380 million from the European Union's recovery funding, for the construction of the planned Tallinn Hospital, meaning the state and Tallinn city need to start thinking about whether and what amount they are capable of contributing with their own finances, Mayor of Tallinn Mihhail Kõlvart (Center) says.

At the same time, the a lack of clarity regarding the amount of the subsidy doesn't mean that the hospital won't receive any recovery funding whatsoever, Kõlvart said.

"As much as I have understood from Brussel's signals, the issue isn't Tallinn Hospital's suitability, but the fact that the share of European money is too big. The promised €380 million seems to be unrealistic. It probably means that the subsidy will be reduced," Kõlvart said.

The mayor said that Tallinn is ready and able to add some funds, but that the question surrounds the amount, and whether the state will be able to contribute as well.

"A question arises as to whether the state is ready to support the project. Based on the equation, Tallinn can calculate and decide whether we are able to contribute more than €100 million, which was proposed initially. Plus whether it is realistic to use more than €100 million of the city's budget strategy," Kõlvart said.

One possibility is selling the lands belonging to the East-Tallinn (ITKH) and West-Tallinn Central (LTKH) hospitals, the two facilities to be merged in the planned Tallinn Hospital, although this wouldn't be the most reasonable option, in Kõlvart's opinion.

"It demands longer analysis as to whether the city needs lands for developing its infrastructure. The need can occur and the land reserve is extremely limited in the city center and it's not reasonable to decide it right now. There's always a chance to sell, but it definitely shouldn't be the first choice," Kõlvart said.

Kõlvart said that the need for a high-tech medicine complex is high and the need won't disappear even if the Tallinn Hospital project doesn't receive the funding.

"It's a very important object, it's not just concrete as it has been said - it's a high-tech project, which is not only important for Tallinn but it would also serve our neighbors," Kõlvart said.

Tallinn has enough replacement projects

Kõlvart said that it wouldn't be viable to present another project instead of the Tallinn Hospital project, either.

"Unfortunately, so far as I know, it doesn't work like that. The money is earmarked for the Tallinn Hospital project. Every project has its separate analysis, separate agreement, separate decision. When the recovery funding is for building the Tallinn Hospital, it can mean that Tallinn won't receive any funding," Kõlvart said.

Kõlvart said that one project that would cost around €40 million and needs funding, is the renovation of Peterburi tee.

"Tallinn is definitely able to propose projects, but it means that the objects have to be agreed on with the state. The state decides when they agree with it or not and then an application needs to be submitted to the European Commission," Kõlvart said.

Tallinn announced an international procurement for the half-billion-euro Tallinn Hospital project. Planning the mega-hospital will cost €11 million.

Kõlvart said the main project should be finished by 2023 and then the construction procurement can be conducted.

The expected cost of the hospital is €520 million. €450 million of it would be spent on planning and construction and €70 million on devices. The gross area would be 127,000 square meters.

Estonia is asking for €380 million from the European Commission's recovery fund.

Tallinn Hospital will be established in cooperation between the state and the city and according to the plan, the hospital should be ready by 2027.

Tallinn Hospital will be built at Lasnamäe close, to the Song Festival Grounds at Narva maantee 129.

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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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