Estonia is able to use the European Union’s structural funds in total of € 53.3 billion in the years 2007 to 2013. National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF) was prepared for these years; this is the strategic framework document for the implementation of structural funds. The study provides an assessment of whether the selection criteria for projects allow select projects which contribute to the objectives in strategy document.

Although the objectives of various levels are generally consistent with each other and selection system is on an acceptable level, the analysis pointed out several shortcomings that need attention and recommendations for their improvement:

  • The consistency analysis pointed out that the objectives of funds’ implementation have too many levels and the links between the levels are not always clear.
  • The selection criteria do not take sufficient account on specific features of measures and is not always explained by objective indicators in regulations and evaluation guides, which is why the evaluators are left with too much room for subjective evaluations.
  • Important observation was that evaluation process in general is not sufficiently transparent and applicant-friendly for applicants and the public. One major factor lowering the transparency is that the detailed instructions of requests’ evaluation, programming documents and related annual plans are not always public.
  • It would be important to think through the logic of each measure and its intervention and to describe the logic in terms of the objectives outlined in structural funds’ strategy and operational plans.

„The recurring difficulty is the transformation of selection criteria that would lead to the goal the best possible way.“ – Anne Jürgenson