On 27 October, the Government gave the go-ahead for the merger of the Environmental Investment Centre (EIC) and the Estonian Private Forest Centre from 1 January next year. The name of the merged body will remain the Environmental Investment Centre, which will distribute private forest subsidies alongside other environmental subsidies.
Minister of the Environment Madis Kallas explains that the merger of the two subsidy agencies under the Ministry of the Environment is a logical step. ‘The subsidy profiles of the EIC and the Estonian Private Forest Centre are a good match,’ Kallas notes. ‘Merging them will make the financing of environmental projects clearer and more transparent.’
Head of the EIC Andrus Treier says that the merging of the agencies was already planned last year and has given the opportunity to prepare thoroughly this year. ‘Together with the Estonian Private Forest Centre and other partners, we have worked to ensure that the merger goes smoothly and that the subsidies and services of the EIC and the Estonian Private Forest Centre continue as usual for the target groups. The merger of two relatively small foundations will certainly create good synergies in the field of environment and climate, and will give forest issues a much bigger opportunity,’ he adds.
Member of the Management Board of the Estonian Private Forest Centre Gunnar Reinapu emphasises that the future EIC Forestry Department will continue to develop private forestry and distribute forestry subsidies from both national and EU funds. ‘Forest owners and forest associations will be able to apply for private forest subsidies in the same way as they are used to. We work to allow private forest owners to manage their forests wisely and in harmony with nature,’ Reinapu adds.
From 1 January 2023, the Forestry Department will be added to the EIC structure, where the current employees of the Estonian Private Forest Centre’s Subsidies and Control Unit will continue to work with the same duties as before. Work will only be reorganised in support functions, which will be transferred to other EIC departments. The substantive activities of the Estonian Private Forest Centre will continue in the same way as now.
Andrus Treier will continue as Member of the Management Board at the EIC. Gunnar Reinapu, Member of the Management Board of the Estonian Private Forest Centre, will become Head of the Forestry Department at the EIC. The EIC currently employs 55 people, and the Estonian Private Forest Centre, 28. Last year, the EIC paid out 138 million euros in subsidies, and the Estonian Private Forest Centre, 8.4 million euros. The EIC was established on 11 May 2000, and the Estonian Private Forest Centre, on 24 March 1999.