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Commission Opinion [COM(97) 2006 final - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(98) 705 final - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(1999) 504 final - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(2000) 704 final - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(2001) 700 final - SEC(2001) 1747 - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(2002) 700 final - SEC(2002) 1403 - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(2003) 675 final - SEC(2003) 1201 - Not published in the Official Journal]
Treaty of Accession to the European Union [Official Journal L 236 of 23.09.2003]


In its July 1997 Opinion, the European Commission considered that Estonia should not have major problems in the area of education, training and youth with a view to its accession.

However, the November 1998 Report asserted that, despite some progress in this area, further efforts were required to fully harmonise national law with the Community acquis.

The October 1999 Report emphasized that some progress had been made, particularly in education and training.

The November 2000 Report noted that Estonia had taken new measures to reorganise its education and training system and to apply European standards.

The November 2001 Report confirmed that Estonia had made considerable progress but needed to further reform its education and vocational training system. Estonia was taking part in the second generation of Leonardo, Socrates and Youth programmes.

The October 2002 Report noted that Estonia had made further progress, but should endeavour to complete the reform of the education and vocational training system, for example by actively involving the social partners.

The November 2003 Report concludes that Estonia is meeting the commitments arising from the accession negotiations in this area. However, further efforts are needed in order to implement the Community acquis relating to education for the children of migrant workers.
The Treaty of Accession was signed on 16 April 2003 and accession took place on 1 May 2004.


The EC Treaty provides that the Community shall:

  • contribute to the development of quality education which shall include a European dimension and shall support and supplement the action of the Member States while respecting their cultural and linguistic diversity (Article 149, ex Article 126) with regard to the content of teaching and the organisation of education systems;
  • implement a vocational training policy which shall support and supplement the action of the Member States (Article 150, ex Article 127) and shall aim to facilitate adaptation to industrial changes and increase employability.

These provisions have been implemented mainly through three major action programmes (Socrates, Leonardo da Vinci and Youth for Europe) recently updated by a new generation of programmes (Socrates, Leonardo and Youth).


Since the Commission Opinion of 1997, Estonia has brought its legislation into line with the acquis. It has amended its legislation on higher education in order to prevent higher education institutions from charging higher tuition fees to foreign citizens. In the area of higher education, the Universities Act and the implementing legislation have been amended in order to clarify procedures concerning government allocation of study grants, initial medical training and the transition from vocational secondary education to university education. Work has continued with a view to improving the quality of higher education.

Estonia has made considerable progress in the field of education and vocational training. The necessary legal framework was put in place in 1999 and a foundation - the Estonian authority responsible for vocational qualifications - was set up in June 2001. However, the sector requires significant financial support.

Participation in the Community programmes Socrates, Leonardo da Vinci and Youth is satisfactory. The national agencies are operational.

Moreover, in order to increase the mobility of students and lecturers in the Baltic States, an agreement was signed in February 2000 between Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia on the recognition of higher education qualifications in the Baltic region. Estonian legislation on the education of the children of migrant workers is in line with the acquis but efforts are still needed in order to implement it effectively.

The national system of qualifications is continuing to be developed: in 2001, 181 professional standards were approved and, in June 2002, Parliament also adopted legislative amendments with a view to setting up a standard qualification structure (Bachelor/Masters).

Since the Commission Opinion of 1997, Estonia has made steady progress. Negotiations on this chapter have been provisionally closed (see 2002 Report). Estonia has not requested any transitional arrangements in this area.

This summary is for information only and is not designed to interpret or replace the reference document.

Last updated: 05.03.2004
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