Raivo Vare: discriminate Tallinn economically, not politically

16.07.2013, 15:00

Head of the Development Fund Raivo Vare writes that if things are left as they are, the part of Estonia that is far from economic centres will be soon empty.

“I would call this principle an economic-geographical rule that almost all countries have experienced throughout times. In Estonia, this rule seems to be dividing Estonia into two parts between two large centres: the upper part centering around Tallinn and the lower, smaller part, centering around Tartu. The dividing line goes through Central Estonia, one of the most successful areas in Estonia.

If we let this development continue, we will have a situation in about two decades where most areas in Estonia that are further away from these main economic centres are empty.

Once this happens, we will have to pay a lot of money as a society to keep the minimum living standard in those areas, at least for controlling the territory.

As for Estonia’s largest local government, Tallinn, it is strong enough to cope on its own. What we need to do is to discriminate Tallinn economically instead of political discrimination that is so common place today.

Income tax distribution should also be changed so that small local governments such as Alutaguse receive a much higher percentage as Tallinn.

It’s not surprising that most of Estonian population lives either in large economic and administrative centres, by main roads and at sea.

Many towns including Rapla, Jõgeva, Tapa, Türi, Mõisaküla and Valga were both and developed especially because of the railway which was the most efficient transport mode at that time.

While it is natural that large economic centres attract people away from rural areas, a trend that cannot be stopped, and that people who live in rural areas nowadays do it more for lifestyle reasons and not for economic or employment reasons.

However, since also the service industry in the countryside has shrunk along the decrease in agriculture and industry, this is creating additional costs for providing people living in the countryside with decent services”.