Youth policy

Youth policy forms a part of the broader youth affairs. The main activity areas of youth policy include youth work, social, employment, health, cultural, family and crime prevention policy. In addition to the education, research and language policy, the area of administration of the Ministry of Education and Research also contains the development of youth policy.

The objective of the Youth Work Strategy 2006-2013 was to develop and implement coordinated and purposeful actions following the actual needs and challenges of young people in different spheres of life, i.e., the integrated youth policy.

In order to implement integrated youth policy, all ministries are under the obligation to consider the youth policy principles in their areas of responsibility when developing measures and making decisions that affect young people.

Youth Sector Development Plan for 2021—2035

On 1 January 2021, Estonia had 273 627 young people between the age of 7–26, which forms 20,6% of the Estonian population. As in many other European countries, the proportion of young people among population is decreasing. According to the forecast of Statistics Estonia, the proportion of youth among total population continues to decrease until 2022 when it will gradually start to increase again. The growth trend prevails until 2039 and then the share of young people among the total population will start decreasing again.



During 2021-2035, the focus will be on objectives and measures that help to achieve a positive change in the most important challenges faced by young people and the society. The overall goal of the development plan is a wide variety of development opportunities, a sense of security, and strong support for young people to create an Estonian state that they wish to further.
The activities carried out by the youth sector are designed to achieve the following strategic goals:

  • MOMENTUM - young people are the creative momentum driving the society onwards – the drivers and leaders in the fields of education, culture, economy, the environment and so on.
  • PARTICIPATION – the protection of youth rights in the state is consistent and active youth participation is supported.
  • INDEPENDENCE - quality youth work (including hobby education for young people) is available across Estonia and provides all young people with opportunities for versatile self-development, experiencing success, acquiring experience and gaining independence.
  • SECURITY - the exclusion and detachment of young people is noticed and prevented through a safety network that increases a sense of security.

Implementation and cost of the development plan

The development plan will be implemented through the implementation plan (Education and Youth Programme). In addition to the Ministry of Education and Research, other ministries and institutions, youth sector organisations, local authorities and county governments will take part in the implementation of the development plan in terms of their area of responsibility in the activities set out in the implementation plan. The Education and Youth Board plays a crucial role in the implementation of the development plan within the area of administration of the Ministry of Education and Research.

The total cost of the development plan is EUR 356.29 million.

International cooperation

The youth policy of the European Union as well as of the Council of Europe also have a significant role in devising and implementing youth policy in Estonia.

Estonia has bilateral cooperation agreements on youth affairs with the Flemish Community in Belgium and with Finland. Both agreements are primarily targeted at exchange of experience between youth workers and youth work organisations. In addition to Estonia, the Latvian and Lithuanian partners of youth affairs also participate in the cooperation with the Flemish Region.. Possibilities for cooperation between parties to youth affairs have also been highlighted in several international cooperation agreements of the area of education. For more information, see the webpage of international agreements.


Last updated: 25 April 2022