Brussels, 5 September 2003
EU Cohesion Policy in Estonia: negotiations of the Single Programming Document will start on 8 September in Tallinn
The European Commission today announced the launch of the first round of negotiations with Estonia on future Structural Funds assistance. Negotiations will start on 8 September 2003 in Tallinn. They will aim at finding an agreement on the Single Programming Document (SPD), the document containing the strategy and priorities for action under Objective 1 of the Structural Funds for the years 2004 to 2006. In a letter of 24 July addressed to Tonis Palts, Minister of Finance, Michel Barnier, Commissioner responsible for regional policy, set out the main lines of the Commission position on the draft Single Programming Document submitted by Estonia.
In his letter, Michel Barnier wrote: “As a result of the excellent work done by your authorities, the draft Single Programming Document represents a good basis for the negotiations that lie ahead. I very much share your view that in seeking to close the gaps with the rest of the Union, priority needs to be given to investments in areas that contribute to faster economic growth and job creation. It is very important that its implementation is a success. This not only because of the country's evident needs, which is the most important consideration, but also because its success would demonstrate the added value of the European Union's interventions. It is therefore all the more important that we reach an early agreement that allows the Single Programming Document to be settled in good time so that implementation on the ground can begin as soon as possible, taking into account that eligibility of expenditure under this programme starts on 1 January 2004.”
Almost € 700 million for infrastructure, promotion of the productive sector, competitiveness and measures for generating growth and creating jobs.
On the basis of the decisions of the Copenhagen European Council last December, about € 386 million will be allocated to Estonia under the EU Structural Funds and some € 312 million under the Cohesion Fund.
Objective 1 of the Structural Funds is devoted to promoting the development and structural adjustment of regions whose development is lagging behind. The Single Programming Document for Estonia will mainly concentrate on the productive sector and competitiveness, the development of human resources, the physical infrastructure in particular in the field of transport, rural development and agriculture. In addition, the Cohesion Fund will co-finance major environmental and transport infrastructure projects.
Estonia as a whole is eligible under the Objective 1 of the Structural Funds for the period 2004-06. The entire territory of the country is also eligible for support from the Cohesion Fund.
The Structural Funds comprise four individual Funds: The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the European Social Fund (ESF), the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF), Guidance Section, and the Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance (FIFG). All of them should contribute to the financing of the Single Programming Document (SPD) in Estonia. In addition, the Cohesion Fund will support projects in the fields of environment and transport infrastructure projects of common interest (trans-European networks).
The SPD describes the socio-economic context of the country, defines and justifies the strategy, priorities and objectives to be achieved and outlines the system for the management, monitoring, evaluation, financial management and control of the programmes.
During the negotiations, the Commission will seek to streamline the priorities with the proposed strategy and ensure a high level of coherence and co-ordination between these priorities. The absorption capacity in the various areas concerned will be taken into account. Clarification will also be sought on the implementation of the programme as a whole and on the individual measures.
For more information, please consult following website: