Final evaluation of the European Social Fund adaptation and integration measure 2014-2020
Estonia has become a host country for many immigrants from the EU and third countries since 2015. Their adaptation in Estonia is a challenge that the Estonian Government should address along with the integration of non-Estonian permanent residents – a political and policy challenge that have been persistent in Estonia since the independence of Estonia in 1991. Adaptation and integration are long-term processes. They influence the development of Estonian society.
Estonia implemented the adaptation and integration measure of the European Social Fund in 2014–2020 that belonged to the third Estonian integration programme “Integrating Estonia 2020”. The aim of the measure was to create the prerequisites and opportunities for adaptation and integration of immigrants and less integrated permanent residents. The total budget of the measure, which comprised six activities, was 19,405,091 euros. Integration activities were also available to new immigrants. The Ministry of the Interior implemented the adaptation activities until 2021, after which the Ministry of Culture took over responsibility. The Ministry of Culture was responsible for the activities of the integration measure.
The final evaluation of the measure aims at evaluating the success of the implementation of the adaptation and integration measure by analyzing the relevance, efficiency, effectiveness, and sustainability of the measures. The evaluation belongs to the conditions of European Union (EU) structural and investment funds. It is also in the interest of Estonia as the evaluation will help to inform adaptation and integration policies in the near future.
The results show that the measure has been implemented with a considerable success in developing the prerequisites and opportunities for adaptation and integration in Estonian society. Policy recommendations were written as a result of the final evaluation.
The activities of the adaptation measure have mostly been relevant, i.e. the new immigrants considered the activities necessary and appropriate to support their adaptation in Estonia. The (resource) efficiency of activities varies from activity to activity. From the point of view of sustainability, most activities need additional resources so that new immigrants can use the created opportunities in the future. The impact of the activities is relatively narrow (considering the total number of people in the target group). The activities of the integration measure have also been relevant, i.e. less integrated permanent residents and new immigrants considered them necessary and important. The performance is good and mostly the planned target levels are (over)met. The efficiency was sufficient to achieve the planned target levels, while also considering the pandemic caused by the coronavirus. Sustainability is the biggest test in the integration program and cooperation and communication activities.
The activities of the adaptation measure have been mostly relevant. According to the immigrants point of view, they received valuable services that helped them to adapt in Estonia. The efficiency varies across activities. Most activities need extra resources to be self-sufficient in the future. The impact of the activities is relatively narrow (considering the small size of target group provided with activities compared to the total population of immigrants in Estonia).
The activities of the integration measure were relevant. Less integrated permanent residents and immigrants considered them necessary. The performance of integration measures were sufficient. The planned target indicators were achieved. The efficiency was sufficient to achieve the planned target levels. Sustainability is the biggest issue, especially in communication and cooperation activities.
The assessment was carried out in cooperation with the University of Tartu Centre for Applied Social Sciences (CASS)