TALLINN - The European Commission approved the implementation plan for structural assistance for the period 2021-2027, which allocates 3.37 billion euros of support to Estonia.
"The long-negotiated decision brings the most additional money to two important areas -- energy saving and the development of a more knowledge-intensive Estonia. We in Estonia were already keenly waiting for this decision," Minister of Finance Keit Pentus-Rosimannus said. "According to the approved plan, Estonia can use 366 million euros for apartment building energy saving investments. Investments in the resource efficiency of companies will also receive support, as well as, for example, the energy efficiency of healthcare institutions, specifically Kuressaare and Narva hospitals," she added.
The use of subsidies will have six goals: an Estonia that is smarter, greener, more connected, more social and closer to people as well as a just transition to a more environmentally sustainable future in East-Viru County. "From the period of the new budget, 1.5 billion is intended to support the green turn, about half of the money will go to support knowledge-intensive projects," the minister of finance added.
Investments made with the help of the Just Transition Fund in East-Viru County will also make a significant contribution to the green turn.
"With the help of the fund, we will direct an additional 354 million to East-Viru County, which will help us create new jobs and diversify business in the county that is most affected by our climate goals," Minister of Public Administration Riina Solman said. "This money is essential seed money for the wider change of East-Viru County and securing the future outside the oil shale sector. There are ideas and potential in East-Viru County, now, thanks to a large financial injection, it is time to start implementing these ideas. Until now, we drew energy from the ground in developing the region, now more and more needed energy must come from people."
The minister also highlighted the contribution of the just transition steering committee, partners and community representatives in preparing the just transition plan. "The local community and entrepreneurs are anticipating the opening of the measures of the Just Transition Fund," Solman said. "They have a great 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."
In addition to the green turn, the new funding period also focuses on increasing research, development and innovation capacity. For a total of 740 million euros, it is planned to primarily finance Estonian companies' research and development activities, the growth of innovation capacity and the development of digital technologies. Investments in people are also important -- 681 million euros will support the school network, skills development and labor market services, contribute to the quality and availability of long-term care, and invest in healthcare infrastructure and services.
New support measures are gradually opening up. Applications are open, for example, for large investments by companies in East-Viru County, and construction work is already underway to build the Parnu-Uulu 2+2 road section.