Ida-Viru County lacks eagerness to apply for green support

Narva quarry.
Narva quarry. Source: Sergei Stepanov/ERR

The Environmental Investment Center has allocated €9 million of support in the last three years to Ida-Viru County. Tartu has received €26 million over the same time-frame. One of the primary reasons for the disparity, however, is that there have been far fewer applications emanating from Ida-Viru County.

In the last three years, the Environmental Investment Center (KIK) has allocated the most support of €32 million to Harju County, the most populous region of the country. Over the same period, €7.3 million reached Ida-Viru County.

"Yes, there are fewer applications. It can't be stated that applications are less successful when they are submitted. There are simply fewer of them," the center's head of subsidies and services Aire Arike-Trutin said.

Arike-Trutin gave an example of a company's resource efficiency and noted that bigger companies have mainly applied for subsidies, but for a lot of companies, the state aid rate is small - 25 percent. "It probably hasn't been attractive for many," she added.

Another issue is the language barrier.

"Primary information is in Estonian, although we have our website in English and Russian as well. We have shared the information via the Russian media. We have also organized information days in Ida-Viru County. The resource efficiency measure had a long information day where we introduced all possibilities to companies. There were quite a lot of those interested, but the number of actual applications was small," Arike-Trutin went on.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications' energy and mineral resources Deputy Chancellor Timo Tatar said that the center's measures have gone to the right destination.

"From the center's measures, Ida-Viru County is in fifth place in terms of disbursements. This is a completely honorable position. It is true that Harju County and Tartu are above that, but there are also more people living in these regions. There are also more smaller settlements there, where these energy measures have been more suitable," Tatar said.

In addition, Tatar launched the EU's Fair Transition Fund, of which €340 million will all go to Ida-Viru County. Madis Vasser, a member of the board of the Estonian Green Movement, is concerned that the use of this fund may be hampered by a lack of applications.

"There may be times when locals can't claim it. The money ship is sitting there in the harbor, but no one is coming on board. That's something we should think about proactively. I know that in some local governments there are special people who help to write these projects. It's probably a good use of money," Vasser said.


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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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