We are living in a time of great crises and change, and the issues are emerging very dynamically. While in the previous two years people’s livelihoods and aspects of poverty were strongly affected by the COVID-19 crisis, this year we have reached a completely abnormal situation, with large-scale warfare in Europe caused by Russia’s unjustified aggression against Ukraine. Every day, people are being killed and injured, war crimes are being committed and everything that people have worked for generations to create is being destroyed.
The war in Ukraine is also a major cause of the significant worsening of poverty-related problems in Estonia, with a very significant drop in living standards, which hits those experiencing poverty particularly hard. Income growth is well below inflation, with prices of essentials rising particularly rapidly, the energy crisis is particularly acute in the Baltic States, and the wave of refugees is the largest in our history.
Instead of hunger and homelessness, Estonia’s poverty is increasingly expressed as inequality, remoteness, loneliness, lack of opportunities and uncertainty about the future.
Poverty isn’t only material nor is it only expressed in income disparities. It also means being deprived of freedom of choice.
Poverty Watch Main Findings
- Those in need do not receive sufficient services prescribed by law. Those in need are unaware of their rights, they are passive and conciliatory because they feel guilty about their situation.
- Laws and the implementation practices have piled up a lot of bureaucracy, blocking access to services and other benefits.
- There is a growing tendency for case plans to write a lot of obligations to the client himself and few obligations to the authorities.
- Estonia’s regional inequality and its aggravation continues to be a major challenge.
- Studies have also revealed that social workers do not have a trusting relationship with clients and that the provided support is insufficient.
- The Hiiumaa Association of Disabled People noted that the poverty of older people is increased by the taxation of both pensions and salaries.
- Different regions face different problems. In Tallinn, for example, the situation is poor with housing services.
EAPN Estonia NGO
Tel: +372 51 10 923
E-mail: eapn.ee (@) gmail.com