TALLINN – Estonian Finance Minister Mart Vorklaev said during question time in parliament on Wednesday that the state is running out of time when it comes to the use of the subsidies directed to East-Viru County from the European Union's Just Transition Fund (JTF), as strict deadlines have been set for the use of the funds.
"We can see that we are in a time crunch to use namely this money and use it wisely. And if we are not able to use it, then we may also lose this money at one point, because this program has clear deadlines. They have been given to us by Europe and these deadlines are reasonable, so that there is money to carry out changes and then support the development of the region, as the name suggests, a just transition," the minister said.
The minister noted that there is a steering committee to direct the allocations from the fund, now also a special representative of the government in East-Viru County, whose primary task, according to Vorklaev, is to ensure that the funds of the Just Transition Fund can be used in East-Viru County as quickly as possible and in a forward-looking manner.
According to him, Russia's aggression against Ukraine, which has created uncertainty among investors in East-Viru County, definitely plays a role in the allocation of funds getting stuck.
"While it could be seen at the beginning of the Just Transition Fund that large companies have a desire and a plan to come to East-Viru County to invest, to use these funds, then yes, several of them have started their work today, but there are still tens of millions in the measure for large companies and money available also in various other measures, be it energy or education," the minister said.