You are here

Study: Estonian people value security and free society the most

28. May 2019 - 9:50

Estonian people wish for a society that is – first and foremost – safe, free, and environmentally friendly, revealed a survey organised by the Government Office and the Ministry of Finance. Around 14,000 people participated in the survey and the results will form the basis for setting the long-term goals of Estonia and deciding on reforms in the coming months.

“The poll, conducted over a period of three weeks, included nearly 14,000 people, which is a record number of participants in the history of the country’s strategy development,” said Eili Lepik, Deputy Strategy Director at the Government Office. “It is noteworthy that in addition to the highly active participation in Estonia, Estonians living elsewhere also contributed to the survey. The survey included Estonians living in 55 different countries, such as China, Nigeria, and Columbia.”

Estonian people prioritised safety, freedom, and the conservation of nature, followed by openness and people-centeredness. “Security and safety were by far the highest priorities for Estonians. However, the order of other values differed depending on age, education, gender, or place of residence. For example, in addition to safety, young people considered the conservation of nature and openness as important values for the development of Estonia, but more than 40-year-olds clearly valued freedom and human-centeredness more,” commented Magnus Urb, Head of Strategic Planning at the Ministry of Finance.

“Safety, freedom, and environmentalism were the three most important keywords for Estonian-speaking people; Russian-speaking respondents, however, valued health and prosperity after safety. The survey also revealed gender differences – for women, in addition to being safe, Estonia should also be environmentally friendly and human-centred by 2035; for men, Estonia ought to be free and prosperous,” commented a representative of the Ministry of Finance.

The respondents were given 16 different keywords with explanations and were tasked to select five most important keywords for them. If the respondents were unable to find a suitable keyword, they could add one themselves, which 550 participants did. “In the freely given answers, the preservation and appreciation of Estonian culture, nationality, and language was considered most important. Different aspects of nature conservation, Christian values, and an unprejudiced and tolerant society were also considered essential,” Urb noted. “At the same time, there were also respondents who preferred a more closed society with less foreigners.”

The survey was conducted from 22 April to 10 May in Estonian, Russian, and English in electronic format and using paper-based questionnaires in nearly 150 libraries across Estonia. A total of 13,903 people from 55 different countries expressed their opinion. Forty-four per cent of the respondents were men and 56 per cent were women; the first language of 75 per cent of the respondents was Estonian, whereas 22 per cent spoke Russian as their first language. The largest proportion of the respondents were aged 20–29 and from Harju, Tartu, Ida-Viru, and Pärnu Counties.

“We are sincerely thankful to all respondents, as well as to the librarians and cooperation partners all over Estonia who helped to conduct the survey,” said Eili Lepik. “As the next step, nationwide seminars will take place in June to discuss long-term goals, necessary reforms, and funding needs.”

The Estonia 2025 strategy will be completed in early 2020. The formulation of the strategy is headed by Government Office and the Ministry of Finance. The long-term strategy will be planned until 2035, encompassing all fields along with major reforms and investments, including the use of structural funds during the new period. Various organisations, unions, associations, communities, and company representations take part in the creation of Estonia 2035.

The results of the survey are available here: http://www.eesti2035.ee, additional information about the strategy: http://www.riigikantselei.ee/eesti2035

Additional information:
Eili Lepik, Deputy Strategy Director at the Government Office, e-mail: eili.lepik[at]riigikantselei[dot]ee, Phone: +3725067123
Magnus Urb, Head of Strategic Planning at the Ministry of Finance, e-mail: magnus.urb[at]fin[dot]ee, Phone: +37256656990