The European Commission has approved the implementation plan for structural subsidies for Estonia for the period 2021-2027, the Ministry of Finance says. The aid totals €3.37 billion and focuses on energy efficiency and a 'smarter Estonia'.
Minister of Finance Keit Pentus-Rosimannus (Reform) said that: "This long-negotiated decision brings the most money to two key areas - energy saving and the development of a more knowledge-intensive Estonia.
"In Estonia, we were waiting impatiently for this decision," the minister added, via a press release.
The plan permits €366 million towards energy saving investments in apartment building, while companies will also receive support towards their energy efficiency, as will healthcare institutions, most notably the hospitals in Kuressaare and Narva hospitals, Pentus-Rosimannus added.
"From the period of the new budget, €1.5 billion is intended to support the green revolution, about half of the money will go to support knowledge-intensive projects," she went on.
So far as individual projects go, applications are open to companies in Ida-Viru County, for instance, while funds are already being used in the construction of the Pärnu to Uulu highway, in southwestern Estonia.
€740 million is earmarked for Estonian companies' R&D, the growth of innovation capacity and the development of digital tech.
Investments in the population include €681 million towards the school network, skills development and labor market services, contributions to the quality and availability of long-term care, and investments in healthcare infrastructure and services.
As reported by ERR News, €354 million from the European Commission's Just Transition Fund is to be used to help Ida-Viru County invest in green energy and remove dependency on environmentally-unfriendly shale oil, which has seen an uptick in use in the current energy crisis.
Riina Solman (Isamaa), Minister for Public Administration, in effect minister for the regions, said: "This money is essential seed capital for the wider transformation of Ida-Viru County and for securing the future outside the oil shale sector.
"Ida-Viru County people have ideas and potential, and now, thanks to a large financial injection, it is time to realize these ideas. Up until now, we had been extracting energy from the earth's crust for the development of the region; now this increasingly needed energy must come from the people."
"The local community and entrepreneurs alike are waiting for the opening up of the measures relating to the Just Transition Fund," Solman added. "They have a huge desire and will to implement big changes, and this is the right direction both for the development of the region and for the future of the local youth."
Editor: Andrew Whyte
Source: Ministry of Finance