“Ida-Viru County is the region with the fastest decreasing population in Estonia. The population there has the smallest share of children and young people in the country. According to forecasts, this negative trend will continue, and this is why we need to take specific steps to avoid the worst,” Aab said. “More than before needs to be done for a development push for Ida-Viru County. The Ida-Viru County program has been created for this purpose. I am glad that drawing up the plan has reached the home stretch.”

The Ida-Viru County program will develop the region with the help of planned investments, increasing existing support measures, and directing additional assets to the region. The government decided to invest approximately €190 million in the region over the course of the next four years.

In addition, the volume of the program will be increased by €4.95 million next year and by another €10 million in 2019. In order to keep young people from moving out of the area, Aab has also proposed to pay them a monthly stipend after their graduation from vocational or higher education institutions, and starting specialized work in the region. The size of the stipend would be €300, to be paid out for two to three years.

One part of the program concerns solving the problem of empty apartment buildings. To tackle that issue, the share of the region’s projects need to be increased in the support measure concerning the reconstruction of apartment buildings.

Additional support needs to be handed out to local governments for the renovation of apartment buildings, the resettlement of people and, where needed, for the demolition of blocks no longer fit for habitation.

The program aims to increase the business activity of the residents of Ida-Viru County as well as the income level in the area to at least reach the national average. In addition, the program wants to make sure that starting from 2020 the number of up to 35-year-olds in the county is higher than the 2014 population forecast of Statistics Estonia for the area.

The implementation of the program is scheduled to begin no later than in the second half of 2018.

Source: ERR.ee