Finance minister: €173 million EU top-up aid to be allocated within a month
€173 million in European Union top-up funds are to be used up in the space of one month, finance minister Keit Pentus-Rosimannus (Reform) says.
Pentus-Rosimannus said: "Following the decision of the European Commission, it is now possible for the ministries to quickly make all the necessary preparations for the payment of subsidies."
Estonia will use the €173 million in Recovery Assistance for Cohesion and the Territories of Europe (REACT-EU) funds primarily to fight the coronavirus and mitigate the economic consequences of the crisis.
Estonia officially submitted its amendment 2014-2020 cohesion policy funds required for REACT-EU funds on April 30, with the European Commission approving this May 12.
The extra funding results from changes to REACT-EU funding, which aims to revitalize the economy, mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 crisis and support transition to a digital and green economy.
Ministers must approve legislation accordingly, BNS reports.
€72 million will be spent on economic recovery, Pentus-Rosimannus said, with the tourism sector receiving €17.7 million support, and other business sectors also to receive sums.
€64 million will go on combatting the virus itself, including €25 million on vaccines procurement, with more funds spent on testing, monitoring studies, improving conditions in care homes and boosting crisis readiness, BNS reports.
A further €24.6 million will also be spent on strengthening the health sector, including improvements in hospitals in Tallinn, Tartu, Järva County and on Hiiumaa.
Additionally, €9 million will be channeled towards labor market services, with the aim of encouraging people to remain in work or to retrain if they are not working.
Estonia is also preparing a plan for the use of the Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD), which mainly comprises food aid, BNS reports.
The government has proposed allocating €4.5 million from REACT-EU funds towards food aid, which, alongside EU funds allocated to Estonia, will come to over €177 million.
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Editor: Andrew Whyte