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Interim Evaluation of the Implementation Plan for EU Cohesion Policy Funds


The purpose of the interim evaluation was to assess the relevance, effectiveness, impact, and sustainability of the implementation plan and the activities carried out within it. The evaluation covered all 14 priority areas of the implementation plan.


The interim evaluation concluded that the sectoral objectives and activities of the implementation plan remain relevant today, and there is no need for significant changes to achieve the objectives of the implementation plan.

As of December 31, 2018, 32% of the €4.6 billion from the EU Cohesion Policy implementation plan for 2014–2020 has been disbursed, totaling €1.5 billion. The support received from the EU Structural and Investment Funds has clearly contributed to achieving the objectives of all priority areas: the funding has a direct impact on increasing employment, improving public health, developing the living environment, and achieving other objectives. The impact of Structural Funds is long-term and manifests in changes at various levels. The operational program has had a significant impact on achieving Estonia’s key strategic objectives.

Challenges and Recommendations

Regional development balance remains a significant challenge. Overall, regional disparities remain significant, and there has been no noticeable shift towards more balanced territorial development. Close to 50% of EU funds have been invested in Harju and Tartu counties, leading to a widening of regional disparities. EU funds should be directed towards preventing problems and developing comprehensive solutions in regions, with an increased focus on the role, awareness, and competence of local governments in regional investments.

Additional funds from the performance reserve should be directed towards preventive measures and value-added activities such as research and development, innovation in entrepreneurship, education, and regional development.

Research methodology: focus group interviews, individual interviews, workshops, document analysis (documentation of projects, measures, and implementation plans), and quantitative analysis (financial, output, and outcome indicators of measures).

Project contracting authority: Ministry of Finance
Project implementers: Technopolis Group Estonia (lead partner), Ernst & Young Baltic, Praxis, Baltic Institute of Research and LevelLab
Duration: 11/2018 ‍– 04/2019