Estonia's Tartu embarks on e-Tartu project

  • 2000-06-29
TALLINN (BNS) - The government of Estonia's second-largest city of Tartu on June 26 presented e-Tartu, an information society development project to join the efforts of the City Hall, educational establishments, townspeople and businesses in implementing novel ideas.

Deputy Mayor Hannes Astok said the city's aim is to provide a common foundation and framework for movement toward an information society by drawing up a corresponding program by Sept. 1.

"If the city government approves the program, we'll map out a clearly defined action plan - what is to be done, who will do it and who will pay the cost," Astok said.

The action plan must secure realization of the program's three key objectives - extensive Internet connection, innovative corporate culture, and townspeople's participation - by the end of 2002 in the main part.

Tartu is the pioneer in Estonia in going along with the European Commission's e-Europe action plan. Astok believes it may even be among leaders in the whole of Europe.

"As the e-Europe plan was endorsed only last week, e-Tartu is probably one of the first regional initiatives in Europe," he said.

Implementation of the program will probably be funded by co-financing, including appropriations from the European Union, the deputy mayor said.

"Some tasks, for example, do not directly concern the municipality," he said. "Meanwhile, if e-Tartu works properly, the whole city will reap the benefit."

As a first task, the program may solve the question of bringing a quality Internet link to all townspeople, Astok said.

The city government's likely partners in the e-Tartu project are Tartu University, Estonian Agricultural Academy and private businesses and nonprofit organizations both in Estonia and abroad, Astok said.