EU structural and investment funds' subsidies to Estonia in the budget period 2014–2020 amounted to 4.4 billion euros. In the period 2007-2013, 3.4 billion euros and in the period 2004-2006, structural support in the amount of 371.4 million euros was paid to Estonia.

During the 2014–2020 budget period of the European Union, Estonia receives 4.4 billion euros as support from the following structural and investments funds:

  • European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)
  • European Social Fund (ESF)
  • Cohesion Fund (CF)
  • European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD)
  • European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF)

The five main funds cooperate in order to support economic development in line with the Europe 2020 strategy in all Member States of the European Union. 

A partnership agreement, which covers the five aforementioned funds, was signed between Estonia and the European Commission on 20 June 2014, establishing the following:

  • Funding priorities
  • Objectives and expected results
  • Prerequisites for using euro funds
  • Overall management of the administration of instruments

Based on the partnership agreement, an operational programme of the Cohesion Policy funds was prepared under the leadership of the Ministry of Finance, which was approved by the European Commission on 10 December 2014. The operational programme describes specific objectives and expected results (including for each fund separately) of using the EU instruments in various fields of activity that receive funding, as well as measures and their funding:

On the basis of the partnership agreement, two more operational programmes will by prepared under the leadership of the Ministry of Agriculture:

  • Operational Programme for the Estonian Rural Development Plan 2014–2020
  • Operational Programme for the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund 2014–2020

During the period of 2007–2013, it was possible for Estonia to use support from the European structural and investment funds in the amount of nearly 3.4 billion euros, which is about twice as much as previously. More than half of this support originates from the European Regional Development Fund. In addition to finances allocated from the European Union, Estonia will add its own contribution in the approximate sum of 575 million euros. Agriculture and fisheries support was no longer considered as structural support in the period of 2007–2013.

A national strategy was prepared for using structural instruments in 2007–2013, which is a strategic framework document that acts as a basis for implementing structural instruments. In order to carry out the strategy, socio-economic partners cooperated with the European Commission in order to compile an operational programme, the performance of which will be managed by the following ministries:

  • Operational Programme for Humans Resources Development (Ministry of Education and Research) The volume of the operational programme was over 391 million euros, and it includes plans for the 2007–2013 supporting activities concerning education, R&D, youth work, labour market, entrepreneurship, and increasing administrative capacity, which promote development towards a knowledge-based economy and society. The activities are financed from the instruments of the European Social Fund (ESF).

    • Development of administrative capacity (Ministry of Finance). In order to improve the governance of Estonia, the European Social Fund has supported training and development of the Estonian officials and associations, as well as studies that are of national importance with about 21.6 million euros during 2007–2013.

  • Operational Programme for the Development of the Living Environment (Ministry of the Environment). The operational programme included the infrastructure of water management and waste management, and the development of infrastructures and support systems of sustainable use of environment, education, health care, and welfare. The support of about 1.4 billion euros that was distributed from the operational programme originated from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Cohesion Fund (CF).

  • The Operational Programme for the Development of Economic Environment (Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications). The operational programme included the support for the development of enterprises and increase in productivity; the development of R&D capacity, tourism, and creative industries; the development of national R&D programmes that are aimed at long-term economic development and the launch of national programmes concerning priority axes; development of transportation infrastructure and information society. The volume of the operational programme exceeds 1.6 billion euros and the support comes from the European Regional Development Fund and the Cohesion Fund.

During the period of 2004–2006, it was possible for Estonia to use more than 370,000 euros of structural support, which was complemented by more than 123,000 euros of own contribution. The support was allocated from four structural funds:

  • The European Social Fund (ESF, volume over 69 million euros), which was primarily aimed at increasing employment and developing labour market.
  • The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF, volume about 233 million euros), which supports economic development and the creation of new jobs.
  • The European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF, volume about 57 million euros), which supports the restructuring of agriculture and rural life.
  • The Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance (FIFG, volume 12.5 million euros), which supports the development of the fisheries sector.

Estonia used up to 99.2% of the support, which amounts to over 368 million euros.

Within three years, a total of 13,710 new jobs were created, 1,886 enterprises received support, and 95 kilometres of roads were built and renovated with the support of the EU. Additionally, the structural support was used to establish 835 new enterprises, a total of 30,578 unemployed persons were involved in active labour market measures, and two hospitals were modernised.

Last updated: 07.05.2021