Report calls out underachieving minister

  • 2008-07-09
  • By Marge Tubalkain-Trell

UNDER PRESSURE: Palo is not coming up to scratch say critics.

TALLINN - A new annual report from Estonia's State Chancellery says Minister of Population Urve Palo did not achieve half of her ministry's action plans.
Among other things, the minister is responsible for integration policies. The official document simply says that most of these objectives remain "incomplete."

Urve Palo said in her announcement that out of 28 goals set for 2007, 26 have been nearly or completely fulfilled. For the other two there are clear and objective reasons.
"For example, it's obvious that final assessment and success analysis of Integration Program 2000-2007 can't be done in 2007, when it's not finished yet. For another example, it would've been pointless to start propaganda on learning the Estonian language in Russian media after April events. I could've marked these off but at the same time only wasted taxpayers' money," explained Palo.

The report says that final assessment of integration project 2000-2007 is incomplete, as are examinations of the Estonian language and citizenship in Russian media. The last one of those is planned for 2008, says the report.
The Ministry of Population was also tasked with making people who don't speak Estonia aware of Estonia's 90th birthday. The report says this hasn't been done.
The report says Palo achieved one out of four goals in population policy, three out of six in family planning realms, and completed neither of the two measures intended to raise the birth rate

Palo for her part defended her work and pointed to projects that have been successful like the Place for Every Kindergarten Child which started at the beginning of the 2008.
"I'm sorry that the appraisers of our working plan didn't notice the projects that are ready and which actually affect the life of the whole Estonian society. For example, the program [called] A Place for Every Kindergarten Child" which this year gives a place to nearly 600 children and also raised the salaries of the kindergarten teachers," said Palo.

She added that she has reason to be proud of the work she and her team members have done and that it's extremely cynical to say that these tasks are easy or that efforts made to improve the situation for Estonian children and families have been for nothing.