Tallinn Administrative Court has dismissed a joint appeal by the City of Tallinn and the Tallinn Hospital Development Foundation against the government's decision on June 30 to cancel a project to build a new hospital in central Tallinn using EU funds.
The court ruled that the City of Tallinn and the Tallinn Hospital Development Foundation did not have sufficient grounds for the appeal to be upheld.
The decision to pull the plug the Tallinn Hospital project came at the end of June, in one of the final sessions under the minority Reform government, prior to the formation of the current coalition.
According to the court, the government's decision does not necessarily mean current regeneration plans are set in stone. Nor does it mean that they will be approved by the European Commission or Council of the European Union.
The court stressed that, while a decision has been made to initiate the amendment of the regeneration plans, the process is not irreversible, with final plans still needing approval at both national and European levels.
In common with the initial regeneration plan, any amendments are subject to stringent approval procedures, and must be rubber-stamped by both the European Commission and the Council of the European Union before they can be implemented.
"Although the minutes of the meeting of the Government of the Republic of Estonia listed specific projects, which the government wishes to exclude from the regeneration plans, this does not mean that the decision to amend the plan has yet been taken, either by Estonia or by the relevant institutions of the European Union responsible for approving and confirming the amendments," the court explained.
The court noted that the complainants are entitled to submit observations and objections, as well as challenge the updated plans, once they have been approved by the government. The decision can be challenged before the District Court within a period of 15 days.
The updated regeneration plans will take firmer shape during upcoming negotiations on the state budget and budget strategy.
At the end of September, the plans will be submitted to the European Commission, after which negotiations over the details could take between four and five months to complete.
Once the Estonian government approves any revisions resulting from these negotiations, the plan is then sent back to the commission for its final approval.
The plans are then submitted by the European Commission to the Council of the European Union, which will reach a decision on the revisions within one month.
The procedure for amending the plans is therefore expected to conclude in spring next year.
Editor: Michael Cole