Ukraine’s transition toward a democratic society and a market-driven economy has been decades in the making, hindered by direct interference from Russia, corruption, and social discordance. In 1998, Ukraine became the first country to receive development assistance from Estonia, and in 2006 became a priority target country for Estonian development cooperation. Estonia outwardly supports the reform plan from the 2014 EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, which began implementation in 2017 and champions the development of democracy and the strengthening of state structures, including the fight against corruption, the establishment of e-government, and the introduction of information and communications technology solutions.
Since partnership began in 1998, Estonian development cooperation has contributed €24.7 million toward the development of Ukraine. During this period, 492 projects have been implemented in the country. As of August 1, 2023, there are 27 ongoing projects in Ukraine, 16 of which are being implemented by ESTDEV partners.
Since the beginning of Russia’s unprovoked attack on Ukraine, Estonia has sent more than €20 million worth of humanitarian aid, over €400 million in military aid, and has collected €24.6 million in private donations to help Ukraine to win the war.
Estonia is one of the first countries to begin to physically rebuild Ukraine. To ensure children’s education and support women and children affected by the war, Estonia has decided to build a kindergarten in the town of Ovruch. The construction of the kindergarten and the creation of education content is being coordinated by ESTDEV, with work on the ground carried out by Estonian and Ukrainian partners from both the public and private sectors. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has allocated €4.8 million to fund the work.
Estonia’s Areas of Focus for Rebuilding Ukraine:
- Reconstruction – deliver resilient, inclusive, and sustainable recovery and reconstruction projects
- Accession to the European Union – support Ukraine in becoming a democratic, independent, and prosperous member state of the EU
- Digital Transformation – promote and develop transparent e-services across all sectors
- Education – advance education management, digital skills development, and education innovations, including the digitalization of the education system and developing e-learning
- Democracy – promote transparent and inclusive governance and the rule of law, strengthen strategic communication, the independent media, and the fight against disinformation
Priority Areas of Estonian Development Cooperation in Ukraine
- Democracy and good governance – contributing to structural reforms, supporting regional development, strengthening independent media, and including civil society in governance and reform processes
- Entrepreneurship – contributing to the development of startups, supporting the development of small businesses, and increasing employment
- Education – updating the education system to meet the needs of the labor market and developing digital competences