The European Commission on Monday sent Estonia its first, €238.5 million payment of Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) funds for the country's updated recovery and resilience plan, the Ministry of Finance announced.
This paid out sum constitutes a significant injection of funds into the Estonian economy, Minister of Finance Mart Võrklaev (Reform) said according to a press release, noting that it reflects Estonia's progress in implementing several crucial reforms as well as investments in energy, the green and digital transitions, healthcare and long-term care, green skills and the innovation and transport fields.
"As recovery plan funds are disbursed once agreed activities have been completed, then we have already made a significant contribution toward a more competitive and sustainable future," Võrklaev noted.
"We've thus invested €74 million in the improvement of electricity networks, €76 million in the full renovation of apartment buildings and insulation of small residential buildings," he highlighted. "We also invested €100 million in the Green Fund with the aim of mobilizing capital for the development of new green technologies in strategic fields such as energy, agriculture, the food industry, transport and logistics as well as materials and the chemical industry."
Estonia's initial recovery and resilience plan was approved in fall 2021. The plan was thereafter updated, however, due to the impacts of a decrease in the volume of support, supply chain disruptions, high inflation and the energy crisis.
According to the ministry, the goal was to agree on changes that would prioritize the most critical needs – businesses' competitiveness, the green reform, the digital transition in both the public and private sectors as well as energy security.
"I'm glad that the update to the plan has now been approved and we can focus on implementing planned reforms and investments," Võrklaev said, noting that Estonia has a combined nearly €1 billion in funding over the entire recovery and resilience plan period "to spend now and wisely."
Estonia's recovery and resilience plan was updated this June.
The goal of the RRF is to promote the EU's economic, social and territorial cohesion by improving member states' resilience, crisis preparedness, adaptive capacity and economic growth potential; to alleviate the social and economic impacts of crises; and to support the green and digital transitions as well as contribute to the creation of quality new jobs.
Partially financed from RRF is also the Just Transition Fund (JTF), through which Estonia is supporting investments in Ida-Viru County.
Estonia is set to receive a combined €953 million in recovery funds, including €736 million on the basis of just transition plans, ERR reported last week. The Just Transition Fund (JTF) is aimed at supporting regions facing the most serious socioeconomic challenges due to the green transition; in Estonia, its chief target area is Ida-Viru County, where the scaling back of the oil shale sector threatens to leave hundreds of people jobless.
Editor: Aili Vahtla