Estonia wins vital EC backing

  • 2007-08-14
  • By Mike Collier

THE CHECK'S IN THE POST: Commissioner Hubner said Estonia is a high growth economy

BRUSSELS - The Estonian government has won approval from the European Commission for its 2007-2013 cohesion policy 's a decision that is effectively worth more than 3 billion euros.

The EC's regional policy Commissioner Danuta Hubner and Employment and Social Affairs Commissioner Vladimir Spidla congratulated the Estonian authorities on reaching agreement with the European Commission on the national plan which will underpin a large part of social policy for the next seven years.

In their National Strategic Reference Framework the Estonian authorities described how they intended to invest EU funding of 3.4 billion euros that they will receive over seven years to deliver growth and jobs to their country.

Commenting on the decision, Hubner said: "Estonia is a high growth economy with a great development potential and I am very happy that the Estonian authorities will use the assistance of the cohesion policy to build on the progress made. The Estonian NSRF is strongly geared towards strengthening and stabilizing the achievements made in the economic, environmental and social development fields with strong investments in research and development, environmental, transport and educational infrastructure as well as training and social inclusion of non-Estonian speakers. I consider this as a strong signal for a continued focus of Estonia on key areas to its development and well-being as well as a proof of Estonia's commitment to the Lisbon Strategy."

Commissioner Spidla added: "The Estonian strategy contains a strong commitment to promoting the quality and intensity of investments in human resources. This shows once again that more and better jobs lie at the heart of the European reform agenda. With the priorities chosen by Estonia, workers will be able to better adapt to changing circumstances. The strategy will also boost employment and promote social inclusion."

The six main targets of the Estonian NSRF are education, research and development, connectivity, sustainable environmental practises, balanced regional development and improved administration. These six goals will be translated into three operational programmes for human resources development, economic development and environmental development.

Estonia sent its proposals to the EC in February 2007. Approval of the NSRF is a legal prerequisite for adoption of the operational programmes, negotiations on which are currently at their final stage.