TALLINN - According to preliminary information, development assistance granted by Estonia last year decreased by approximately a tenth, it appears from the data compiled by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
While in 2016, the sum total of Estonia's official development assistance was 40.3 million euros, which made up 0.19 percent of gross national product (GNP) of that year, then according to preliminary data concerning 2017, the volume of development assistance granted by Estonia had decreased to 37.5 million euros, which made up 0.17 of GNP.
During the period 2015-2016, Estonia's official development assistance (ODA) increased from 30.6 million euros to 40.3 million euros.
The drop in the absolute value of last year's assistance sum is partly due to the fact that the payments of various facilities made by Estonia vary by year. Estonia in 2016 paid 2.8 million euros to the EU Facility for Refugees in Turkey and the expenses made for accepting refugees were also greater than usual, 2.24 million euros, Juri Seilenthal, head of the department for economic affairs and development cooperation at the Estonian Foreign Ministry, told BNS on Friday.
"As our so-called national envelope has been the same for four years, but our economy grows at the same time, then the percentage decreases. This is nothing scandalous, but we are not moving in the right direction," Seilenthal said.
The volume of development assistance means granted via the Foreign Ministry during the period 2015-2017 have remained at 11.9 million euros. However, the development assistance granted via other ministries and the sums contributed to development assistance through the EU budget increased sharply in 2016 and decreased in 2017. While in 2016, Estonia's payment for development assistance to the EU budget was 18.4 million euros, then the same sum was 16.9 million euros in 2017. Other ministries in 2016 allocated 10 million euros for development assistance, while the sum allocated in 2017 was 8.7 million euros.
According to data published by the European Commission, Estonia in 2016 was second among countries who joined the EU in 2004 or later in terms of the relative volume of granted development assistance. Estonia with 0.19 percent of GNP was only behind Malta among the so-called new member states, with the latter contributing 0.2 percent of GNP in 2016. However, Estonia was ahead of Slovenia, which contributed 0.18 percent of GNP, and also passed the so-called old member states Greece and Portugal, which contributed 0.14 percent and 0.17 percent of GNP, respectively.
The sums of Estonia's development assistance have nevertheless constantly increased overall, as Estonia in 2004 allocated only 0.05 percent of GNP for development assistance.
The European Union has assumed the goal that the so-called old member states bring their ODA to 0.7 percent of GNP by 2030 and countries that joined the EU in 2004 or later should bring their ODA to 0.33 percent of GNP by the same year.