Following an unprecedented crisis due to the pandemic, Estonia’s recovery and resilience plan responds to the urgent need of fostering a strong recovery and making Estonia future ready. The reforms and investments in the plan will help Estonia become more sustainable, resilient and better prepared for the challenges and opportunities of the green and digital transitions. To this end, the plan consists of 25 investments and 16 reforms. They will be supported by €969.3 million in grants. 41.5% of the plan will support climate objectives and 21.5% of the plan will foster the digital transition.
The transformative impact of Estonia’s plan is the result of a strong combination of reforms and investments which address the specific challenges of Estonia. A key focus of the plan is on the green and digital transitions, with measures to improve energy efficiency and develop renewable energy; increase the sustainability of transport and mobility; support companies in the twin transition, in particular start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises; further digitalise public services; and increase the labour market relevance of the education and training system, notably as regards green and digital skills. The plan contains measures to improve the accessibility and resilience of the health system and envisages some improvements to the social safety net and access to social services. Equal opportunities and social and territorial cohesion are important cross-cutting themes in the plan. All reforms and investments have to be implemented within a tight time frame, as the Regulation on the Recovery and Resilience Facility foresees they have to be completed by August 2026.
The plan will foster economic growth and create jobs. These estimates do not include the possible positive impact of structural reforms, which can be substantial.The plan will lift Estonia’s gross domestic product by 0.89% to 1.3% by 2026. This boost to the economy will bring up to 4,000 citizens into jobs. Estonia will benefit significantly from the Recovery and Resilience Plans of other Member States. These spill-over effects account for 0.5 percentage points of gross domestic product in 2026. This demonstrates the added value of joint and coordinated action at the European level.
Impact of NextGenerationEU on Estonia's gross domestic product by 2026
Jobs by 2026
Gross domestic product benefits thanks to other Member States’ recovery and resilience plans in 2026
When designing the plan, Estonian authorities consulted national and regional social partners and stakeholders, while pursuing a close dialogue with the Commission ahead of the formal submission of the plan on 18 June 2021. On 5 October 2021, the Commission gave its green light to the plan. On this occasion, President von der Leyen symbolically transmitted the Commission’s assessment to Prime Minister Kallas during a visit in Tallinn. The plan was in turn adopted by the Council on 29 October 2021 opening the door to its implementation and financing.
In the area of climate and environmental policies, Estonia faces the challenge of decarbonisation of its economy, in particular to reduce dependency on oil shale in electricity generation, energy efficiency of buildings and sustainability of transport. Green transition in the enterprises also needs to pick up to adhere to the principles of circular economy and implement new technologies to increase resource productivity.
Key measures for the green transition
The plan supports the green transition through investments into green hydrogen technologies (€50 million), strengthening the electricity grid and piloting energy storage to increase renewable energy production capacity (€45 million), construction of the Rail Baltic multimodal terminal in Tallinn (€31 million), and setting up the Green Fund to support innovative green technologies (€100 million). Key reforms include incentivising the production of renewable energy by removing administrative barriers and setting targets and actions to phase out oil shale in electricity production, strengthening advisory services and digital tools to promote energy efficient renovations, and adopting a new strategic approach to mobility and implementing a common transport system for the Tallinn capital region.
Example project: Renewable energy storage
The project would pilot storing renewable energy in seawater using the geographic advantage of Estonia of a long coastline and the historic patrimony of empty oil shale mines. Renewable energy would be saved in pump hydro-accumulation stations using the difference between the sea level and the level of the sea bottom or between the ground level and bottom of empty mines where the storage facility would be installed. The pilot would be a basis for investing in similar storage solutions on a larger scale thereby contributing to renewable energy uptake and energy security.
Digital challenges for Estonia include the digital transformation of enterprises, especially of small and medium-sized enterprises and in sectors where the potential of digital technologies has remained insufficiently exploited so far, and the provision of digital skills. While Estonia is a front-runner on eGovernment, another challenge is to further modernise public services, including by enhancing capacities to fight against money laundering.
Key measures for the digital transition
Estonia’s recovery and resilience plan supports the digital transition with investments and reforms in particular as regards digitalising companies (€83 million), including small, medium and micro businesses; digitalising the public administration (€97 million), with measures aiming at upgrading digital government services drawing on the latest technologies, in order to improve their resilience, security, and efficiency, and reduce the administrative burden for both citizens and businesses; increasing connectivity (€24 million), with support to the deployment of very-high capacity networks in rural areas, which should contribute to the reduction of the digital divide.
Example project: Establishing a strategic analysis of money laundering and terrorist financing
This project, part of the measures on digitalising the public administration, aims at establishing a strategic analysis centre within the Financial Intelligence Unit to allow for a more operational identification of, response to and prevention of money laundering risks, thereby contributing to the reinforcement of the anti-money laundering framework.
Economic and social resilience
Key macro-economic challenges for the Estonian economy include enhancing productivity growth; addressing skills shortages; increasing the resilience and accessibility of the health care system, improving the adequacy of the social safety net and of the provision of social services, including of long-term care.
Key measures in reinforcing economic and social resilience
The plan reinforces economic and social resilience in particular as regards improving access to health care (€326 million) with measures aiming at the construction of the Northern Estonia Medical Campus, modernising e-health governance, strengthening of primary care, addressing health workforce shortages, and purchasing multipurpose helicopters for emergencies and constructing landing sites at medical centres; strengthening social resilience (€10 million) with measures aiming at incentivising youth employment through a combination of wage and training support, extending the duration of unemployment benefits in periods of high unemployment, introducing measures to reduce the gender pay gap, and improving the provision of long-term care, in particular for children with higher care needs; reinforcing the competitiveness of Estonian companies (€33 million), with measures aiming at developing regional and country-specific export strategies, and promoting Estonian companies at global events; developing innovative business centres in key foreign markets.
Example project: My first job
Through an upgraded ‘My First Job’ scheme, which is at the centre of the Estonian enhanced Youth Guarantee Action Plan, the RRF should contribute to getting young people into employment. The wage subsidy and training allowance are expected to encourage employers into hiring young professionals with little experience, and in turn helping these young professionals to gain skills, thereby further reducing youth unemployment.
The plan is consistent with relevant country-specific challenges and priorities identified in the European Semester, the annual cycle of coordination and surveillance of the EU’s economic policies. For a detailed explanation of the European Semester see the following link: The European Semester explained | European Commission (europa.eu)
Estonia’s recovery and resilience plan
National recovery and resilience plan
National recovery and resilience website
Assessment of the recovery and resilience plan
Press release: "European Commission endorses Estonia's plan"
Council Implementing Decision on the approval of the assessment of the recovery and resilience plan of Estonia and Annex
Commission Staff Working Document: Analysis of the recovery and resilience plan of Estonia
Factsheet: Estonia’s recovery and resilience plan
Questions and answers: European Commission endorses Estonia's plan
Press release: Commission endorses Estonia's €953 million modified recovery and resilience plan, including a REPowerEU chapter
Press release: the European Commission disburses €126 million in pre-financing to Estonia
Operational Arrangement between the Commission and Estonia
European Semester documents
European Semester documents for Estonia
Summary of the assessment of the Estonian recovery and resilience plan
Presentation to the Council of Estonia’s recovery and resilience plan