Final report of the integration plan: the society is more cohesive and tolerant, and the sense of national identity has increased

17.06.2021 | 11:41

At today’s June 17th session the government took into consideration the final report of the Integrating Estonia 2020 development plan, which summarises the directions and effectiveness of the integration policy during the past seven years. According to the report, Estonian society has been consistently integrating, more tolerance and openness exists, and the national identity of people of various nationalities has been strengthened.
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“The summary of the integration plan confirms that there has been steady progress in this area. The integration of Estonian society has been consistent and trending positively. The society is more tolerant and open and the national identity of people of different nationalities is strong. It is also gratifying that people consider it important to know the state language and that the labour market gaps that exist between Estonians and people of other nationalities have decreased,” Minister of Culture Anneli Ott said, summarising the most important conclusions. “In the upcoming period, we need to do more to increase contacts between people of different nationalities, and continue to reduce socio-economic disparities,” Ott noted. 

The Integrating Estonia 2020 programme was aimed mainly at permanent residents of other nationalities who are barely integrated as well as new immigrants and the society as a whole, including Estonians. One of the major initiatives of the development plan was the startup, in 2015, of ETV+, a Russian-language TV channel operated by the Estonian Public Broadcasting (ERR). Thanks to more diverse content and greater collaboration between various platforms, the number of Russian-speaking viewers of Estonian National Broadcasting channels increased. In the first half of 2016, the concept of Estonian Language Houses was introduced in Narva and Tallinn. Since 2018, the Estonian Language Houses have organised free language courses, and other activities that encourage the use of the Estonian language, and the expansion of the communication environment in order to maintain language skills. The Estonian Language Houses have also coordinated contact networks to facilitate the practice of the Estonian language.

Over seven years, nearly €81 million has been allocated for the implementation of the activities related to the development plan; 15% of which came from the European Social Fund and the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund. 

The overall goal of the Integrating Estonia 2020 plan is an integrated and socially cohesive Estonian society, in which people from various linguistic and cultural backgrounds actively participate in society and share the same democratic values. The development plan is a continuation of the national program called Integration in Estonian Society 2000–2007 and the sectoral development plan Estonian Integration Plan 2008–2013. The final report of the development and implementation plan was prepared by the Ministry of Culture on the basis of data supplied by the Ministry of Education and Research, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Social Affairs, the Education and Youth Board, the Integration Foundation and Estonian National Broadcasting. A new development plan called Cohesive Estonia 2021-2030 has been completed, which will provide the basis for the development of the integration field in upcoming years. 
 
The final report of Integrating Estonia 2020 and the related document are available here: https://kul.ee/kultuuriline-mitmekesisus-ja-loimumine/strateegilised-dokumendid/loimuv-eesti-2020.
 

Brita Tuuling

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