Estonian local govts to receive over EUR 6.1 mln for integration services

  • 2023-01-30
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN – Over the next six years, Estonia, together with the European Social Fund, will allocate a total of more than 6.1 million euros to local governments for harmonizing and increasing the capacity of integration and adaptation services.

"Integration, the adaptation of new immigrants and the reception of returnees concern all local governments in Estonia. In order for municipalities to be able to contribute, it is important to increase their knowledge, but also their financial capacity," Minister of Culture Piret Hartman said.

Municipalities are supported in their activities by the Association of Estonian Cities and Rural Municipalities.

One of the major bottlenecks in the field is the lack of awareness of local governments about the problems and opportunities related to integration and the fragmentation of information about the services to which target groups should be directed. People with different language and cultural backgrounds and those returning to Estonia often need support to access services, but municipalities' understanding of the target group and their willingness to offer services to them is uneven across Estonia. A total of 6,139,037 euros will be directed from the European Social Fund+ and as national co-financing in 2023-2029 to harmonize and increase the ability to provide services.

"The topics of integration are topical and important. I am glad that we, as an umbrella organization of municipalities, can offer support to our members in coordinating nationwide activities and providing services. In connection with the war in Ukraine, all Estonian municipalities have now come into contact with the issues of integration, including adaptation, and cities and municipalities are the primary point of contact for the target group. The planned support certainly does not solve all the concerns of the municipality in this area, but it is helpful in planning various activities," Mihhail Kolvart, mayor of Tallinn and chairman of the management board of the Association of Estonian Cities and Rural Municipalities, said.

Over the next six years, the Association of Estonian Cities and Municipalities will support local governments in the preparation of action plans and content activities in the field of integration. Integration paths will be developed, which will help to understand the experiences of the target groups and plan further steps, while the exchange of information and cooperation between municipalities will also be improved and the necessary trainings organized or instructional materials prepared to increase the ability to work with the target group. In 2023, the position of adviser in the field of integration, including adaptation, will be created at the association.