EU Cohesion Policy: €3.5 billion for Estonia’s economic and social development and green transition in 2021-2027 – Regional policy

This agreement will also support the implementation of the main EU priorities such as the green and digital transition and contribute to competitive, innovative and export-oriented growth.

Fair green transition

€781 million from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Cohesion Fund will support the circular economy in businesses, ensuring less waste and better resource efficiency. The funds will also promote energy efficiency, renewable energy and increased use of recycled materials.

€354 million from the Just Transition Fund (JTF) will help Estonia transition to a greener and more competitive industry while maintaining employment and improving the skills of workers in affected areas.

Estonia aims to end electricity generation from oil shale by 2035. The carbon-intensive oil shale sector is concentrated in Ida-Viru county. In order to mitigate the high socio-economic transition costs for this region, Estonia will invest JTF resources to restructure the economy, support affected communities, and reduce the environmental and health impacts of mining activities and oil shale processing. .

Up to €521 million from the Cohesion Fund will support the shift from road to rail transport for passengers and freight. This will help reduce travel times and CO2 emissions. Investments will also be made to complete the road network, necessary for the central TEN-T, which should be ready by 2030.

A smarter, digital and connected economy

€742 million from the ERDF will improve cooperation between businesses and research institutes and will be invested in small and medium-sized enterprises to boost productivity, innovation and competitiveness in line with smart specialisation. These funds will also make it possible to accelerate the digitization of the economy, the development of public digital services and high-speed internet.

Lifelong learning, upskilling and social inclusion

€534 million from the European Social Fund Plus (ESF+) will be invested to address social, health, lifelong learning and labor market needs. Skills measures will be offered at all stages of life, from supporting schoolchildren to upskilling measures, to helping people find and progress in their careers.

ESF+ resources will also help tackle child poverty, prevent early school leaving, support long-term care reform, adapt education to labor market needs and promote healthy working lives. Food support and basic material assistance will also be provided to the most vulnerable groups in society. All ESF+ investments will contribute to the further implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights.

Sustainable fishing, aquaculture and processing sector

€97.4 million from the European Maritime Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund (EMFFSA) will increase the resilience of the fishing, aquaculture and processing sectors. The EMFAF program will focus on innovation and interdisciplinary scientific cooperation, adaptation to climate change and environmental protection. The sustainable development and economic diversification of coastal fishing and aquaculture communities will be further enhanced, in line with the objectives of the European Green Deal.

Investments in the fisheries and aquaculture sectors will also contribute to the green transition in Estonia, promoting the development of small-scale coastal fisheries through community-led local development.

College members said:

Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Ferreirasaid: “Following today’s adoption of the Partnership Agreement, Estonia will receive support to further develop its economy, green and fair transition, innovation in small and medium-sized enterprises and its services sector. transport. Estonia has a far-reaching smart, green and digital future ahead of it.

Commissioner for employment and social rights, Nicolas schmitadded: “To meet the demands of the green and digital transition, Member States should invest heavily in skills and lifelong learning. I welcome the fact that lifelong learning is a key priority of the ESF+ in Estonia. It will improve access to the labor market, in particular for vulnerable or disadvantaged people. In line with the European Child Guarantee, ESF+ funding will also contribute to reducing child poverty and preventing early school leaving. These measures make a tangible contribution to the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights.

Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Commissioner, Virginijus Sinkeviciussaid: “Europe’s blue economy plays a crucial role in supporting coastal communities and decarbonising our economy. This partnership agreement with Estonia will strengthen the economic and social vitality of coastal communities, through innovation and the development of sustainable and environmentally friendly technologies. It will lead to better resilience and shape sustainable, low-carbon fishing, aquaculture and processing sectors, also improving the protection of the marine environment and biodiversity..”


The partnership agreement covers the cohesion policy funds (ERDF; ESF+, the Cohesion Fund, the JTF), as well as the EMFF. It paves the way for the implementation of these investments on the ground through 2 national programs and 5 INTERREG programs (concerning cross-border, transnational and interregional cooperation).

Furthermore, the Partnership Agreement reflects Estonia’s strong commitment to the coordinated use of Cohesion Policy funds with the Recovery and Resilience Facility.

Within the framework of the cohesion policy, and in cooperation with the Commission, each Member State prepares a partnership agreement, a strategic document for the programming of the investments of the funds of the cohesion policy and the Feampa during the multiannual financial framework. It focuses on EU priorities and defines the investment strategy identified by the Member State. It presents a list of national programs to be implemented on the ground, including the indicative annual financial allocation for each programme.

The 2021-2027 partnership agreement with Estonia is on the 15e to be adopted after those of Greece, Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Lithuania, Finland, Denmark, France, Sweden, Netherlands, Poland, Bulgaria, Cyprus and Portugal.

Joel C. Hicks