Newsletter February 2019

Estonia’s upcoming national elections

Estonia national elections to its national parliament will take place this Sunday, March 3.

In Estonia, it is possible to vote online and for those people chose to take that option, e-voting has already taken place.

The latest polls show that the centre-left Centre Party led by Prime Minister Jüri Ratas are in the lead with the centre-right Reform Party a close second. The Far Right Conservative Party. are running third. Both Ratas and the leader of the Reform Party Kaja Kallas have said they will not work with the Far Right Party.

Tallinn’s Mayor, Taavi Aas, also from the Centre Party, who voted on Tuesday, said he was looking forward to cooperating with the new government whoever it may be.

“I look forward to a new parliament to bring together a government that will continue to cooperate with today’s government in Tallinn,” Aas said.

Aas hopes that the ongoing projects which the current government have committed to will be completed such as Kalev Stadium, the City Theatre and the Linnahall. He hoped the new government is ready to launch new projects to revitalise the city.

Tallinn celebrates the nation’s birthday

24 February marked 101 years of Estonian independence.

The Mayor of Tallinn Taavi Aas and member of the Tallinn Government took an active part in the flag raising and other celebrations.

As part of the celebrations, Tallinn presented an open-air concert “Time patterns”  a short visual presentation showing how Estonian culture was born and has thrived.

The event was free for both locals and visitors to the city with performances for local entertainers. President Kirsti Kaljulaid and Taavi Aas gave speeches.

The audience was shown the story about how the merger of individual small ideas, thoughts and songs creates great deeds, thoughts and developments.

The open-air concert was organised by the City of Tallinn in cooperation with EV100 and Estonian National Broadcasting.

Hospitality project forging links between communities

The hospitality project (Home Peace)was set up to develop joint activities between Estonia’s diverse different ethnic and national communities. Tallinn has a large Russian-speaking minority but there are also many other communities from all over the World that call Tallinn home.

In its first round, the committee decided to support 30 projects for a total amount of 94,612 Euros. Deputy Mayor Vadim Belobrovtsev noted the new and fresh ideas contributing to the goals of the Home Peace Program.

“The main theme of this year’s Call for Proposals Program is to promote joint activities among young people and promote minority cultures and their supporting cultural events,” Belobrovtsev said.

Thirty-four applications were received in the round this year. The deadline for submitting applications for the second round is 2 April and the deadline for the third call for proposals is 2 September.
Belobrovtsev stressed the increase in the number of projects supported.

“In the first year of the contest, (2017) 23 projects were supported in 2018 the number of supported projects was already 43,” Belobrovtsev said.

“These figures show the growing interest in the activity of civil society. It also bears witness to the growing popularity of citizen engagement.”
The projects which have received support have been the promotion of joint activities of young people (different action projects uniting Estonian and Russian-speaking young people) introducing the minority cultures (cultural projects of national minorities, cultural days in schools).

Tallinn tramlines to extend to the regions

Estonia already has free public transport and a new modern tram system now moves are afoot to extend the tram system to the districts surrounding the city.

Local Authorities of Harjumaa (the region surrounding Tallinn) and Tallinn City’s Transport leaders signed an agreement to look into the feasibility of extending tram connection between Tallinn and its neighbouring municipalities
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Officials at both nation and city level stressed that the idea to make Tallinn a tram based city and to reduce the use of cars thereby lowering carbon emission was achievable and necessary.

Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure, Kadri Simson, said progress has been made already but more was needed.

“We have supported the construction of a tramway leading to an airport and the upgrading of tram lines,” she explained.
“We have to move towards a more sustainable mode of transport because half of the carbon emissions come from Harju County.”

The metropolitan areas have set itself the goal of reducing by the region’s car traffic by 20 per cent by the year 2035. In that year the urban transport network must also be CO2 carbon neutral and the city centre car-free.

“We must ensure that in the urban environment, people’s health is not affected by an increase in population and need for mobility. The development of public transport which is as competitive as possible with a passenger car is particularly important,” Simson said.

Tallinn’s Mayor Taavi Aas explained that there are 160,000 cars a day between Tallinn and its neighbouring areas.

“The annual traffic flow between Tallinn and Harju County is 5000-25000 cars, which is a serious increase.
“This traffic takes place in both ways, not just to get to Tallinn for work in the morning and to drive home in the evenings in the evening. Many companies and jobs are located along the roads in Harjumaa rural municipalities. Thus public transport development is the next step, you have to think about the future,” the mayor said.

Cities and Municipalities Days 

On February 12 and 13 2019, the XV Cities and Municipalities Days took place.

Participants and local government representatives from all over Estonia once again had the opportunity to learn the latest information about services provided by Tallinn’s eight districts, and city departments including: enterprise, environmental, energy agency, communal office, city property, culture, municipal police and social welfare and health care, in their respective fields.

The moto for Tallinn’s information stands in 2019 was “Tallinn 800+“  This was to “kick off” celebrations of the first mention of Tallinn in historical records, of which an overview was given to interested parties by the head of Tallinn City Archives Küllo Arjakas.

By tradition, representatives of Tallinn’s disabled support centre, Juks and Mental Health Centre formed an important part of the Tallinn info stand’s presentations. They introduced people to their activities and sold handmade souvenirs made by disabled people which this time proved to be quite popular.

The organisers of the XV Cities and Municipalities Days said during the two days of events and discussions over 1,700 people participated, the greater part of which visited the Tallinn information stand, heard specialist representatives and carried to their home cities and regions information and souvenirs reflecting activities in Tallinn.

Tallinn Development and Training Centre have organised the nationwide Cities and Municipalities Days Tallinn info stand for eight years in a row.