Structural funds are allocated for Estonia by the EU in order to support the development of Estonian economy and thereby reduce inequality between different regions in Europe, thus improving the competitiveness of the EU economy. There are 3 funds being used between 2007 – 2013 – European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), European Social Fund (ESF) and Cohesion Fund (CF). Estonia is also entitled to receive up to 53.3 billion Kroons. Since 2006 – 2007, when the strategy and the operational programmes were designed, the economic situation has changed drastically. Therefore it is reasonable to contemplate the merit of the priorities and how they may be adjusted. The Ministry of Finance has organised an evaluation for this reason which will precede the changes to be made in the operational programmes.
The general scope of the evaluation is as follows:
- To provide feedback and make proposals on the appropriate treatment of the problems in the operational programmes;
- To evaluate the need for replanning the activities and measures and/or diverting the funds.
The data concerning structural funds which is the basis for this evaluation, has been provided by the Ministry of Finance, implementing agencies and intermediate bodies. The main sources of information were:
- Data provided by the Ministry of Finance concerning the measures and the budgets of structural funds;
- Proposals of changes in the usage of structural funds by intermediate bodies provided by the Ministry of Finance;
- Several secondary sources (projections, studies, statistics, materials of meetings etc.);
- Interviews with representatives of the administration and social partners;
- Workshop with representatives of the administration.