The European Union Structural Funds

The aim of the European Union regional policy or cohesion policy is to harmonise the development of the member states and improve the competiveness of the economic area all over the world.
 

The Structural Funds or euro financing are used via three funds: European Regional Development Fund, European Social Fund and Cohesion Fund. 

In 2014, a new seven year budget period started in the EU. Over that period, in total, 3.5 billion euros will be channelled to Estonia from the EU Structural Funds; the administrative area of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications will be responsible for the use of 1.3 billion euros. However, the implementation of the period that ended in 2013 will be carried on until the end of 2015.

     

    Structural Funds in 2007-2013
     

    During the 2007–2013 programme period, Estonia has had three operational programmes for the development of different spheres, implemented by the following ministries:
     

    • Operational Programme for the Development of Economic Environment
      Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications
    • Operational Programme for the Development of Living Environment

      Ministry of Environment

    • Operational Programme for Human Resources Development

      Ministry of Education and Research

     

    Although the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications is in charge for the Operational Programme for the Development of Economic Environment (OPDEE), the Ministry contributes to all the three operational programmes.

    Implementation of the Structural Funds is co-ordinated by the Foreign Financing Department of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications that also conducts surveillance over the final beneficiaries.

    Over the next seven year budget period, in total, approximately 3.4 billion euros will be channelled to Estonia from the EU Structural Funds; the administrative area of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications will be responsible for the use of 1.24 billion euros.

    The implementation period will end in December 2015.

     

    Operational programmes 2007–2013  

     

    The three operational programmes, implemented during the period, are divided into three priorities, which are, on their turn, divided into measures and programmes.
     

    Priorities for the Operational Programme for the Development of Economic Environment:

    • Innovation and growth capacities of enterprises

    • Transport investments of strategic and regional importance

    • Promotion of information society

    Priorities for the Operational Programme for Human Resources Development:

    • Knowledge and skills for innovative entrepreneurship

    Priorities of the Operational Programme for the Development of Living Environment:

    • Development of energy sector

    • Protection of ambient air

     

    Monitoring reports 
     

    Every year, monitoring reports will be drawn up about the implementation of every operational programme.
     

    The reports will provide an overview of the implementation of measures and financial progress or taking commitments and making payments, achieving the goals, established within the framework of operational programmes, analysis of results and information dissemination activities.

     

     

    Application for support 

     

    The following agencies must be contact to apply for support over the next budget period:

    • Enterprise Estonia
      Grants and supports to enhance the innovativeness and internationalisation of enterprises, to ensure competitiveness and sustainable development of Estonian tourism sector
      EAS »
    • Estonian Information System’s Authority (EISA)
      Supports and grants for the development of information society
      EISA »
    • Foundation

       KredEx
      Financial instruments for enterprises and renovation of apartment houses
      KredEx »
    • Technical Regulatory Authority
      Transport to the development of transport infrastructure
      TRA »
    • Environmental Investment Centre (KIK)
      Support for sustainable/environmentally friendly transport
      KIK »

    Allocation of funds
     

    The Ministry will enter into administrative agreements with private legal persons-priority intermediate bodies (Enterprise Estonia, KredEx, Environmental Investment Centre), thus granting them authority to use the Structural Funds over a defined period of time and indicating the scope of funding.

    The Ministry will enter into state budget allocation contract (so-called financing contract) with the recipient of the allocation. 

    According to the contract, the funding will be broken down into administrative costs, structural support, co-financing of support and self-financing of programmes and state budget allocations. 

     

    Structural Funds 2014-2020 

     

    A new European Union seven year budget period started in 2014; in total, the period will be implemented for ten years – until the end of 2023.

    Over that period, in total, 3.5 billion euros will be channelled to Estonia from the EU Structural Funds; the administrative area of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications will be responsible for the use of 1.3 billion euros.

    As one of the prerequisites for using the Cohesion Fund financing, Estonia, like all the other member states, using the funds, have drawn up a partnership agreement and based on this document, operational programmes for using the funds; draft of the agreement was submitted to the European Commission in the beginning of 2014.

    The Commission has six months to process the strategic documents; then the new financing period will be open and we can start with the implementation of projects, co-financed by the European Union.

     

    Allocation of investments by area 

     

    Transport

    447

    million euros
    • Improving the condition of roads and traffic safety

    • Enhancing the attractiveness of transport/travel by rail

    • Better interconnections of different means of transport

    Economic development 

    444

    million euros
    • Main focus is given to innovation and new business models

    • Smart specialisation on information and communication technology, health technologies and services and more effective use of resources

    • Establishing an enterprise start-up centre in Estonia

    • Continued introduction of Estonia as a travel destination in foreign countries to promote tourism

    Energy sector 

    232

    million euros
    • Continued renovation of apartment houses

    • Using the proportion of alternative fuels in transport sector

    • Increasing the proportion of energy efficiency/saving and energy from renewable sources

    Information society 

    182

    million euros
    • Linking Estonian IT world with the rest of Europe (Digital Single Market)

    • Accurate targeting of investments; socio-economic and financial benefits from each investment

    • Apart the creation of new e-solution – replacement of the old e-solutions

    • Continued building of extra fast Internet network

    • Uniform quality requirements to all the public services

     

    Last updated: 13 March 2015