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ERR News - “Bring Talent Home” resurfaced in the Estonian media, after the evening ETV program “Vabariigi Kodanikud” (Citizens of the Republic) ran an hour-long program on the topic.
“Bring Talent Home” is a project financed by EU structural funds that invites expat Estonians back via the online platform, www.talendidkoju.ee.
Highly praised by some, the project has also met its share of criticism, not the least of which is for its use of the word “talent” in its potentially alienating motto. Critics also say the plan is unrealistic, that it seeks to replace local talent and that it is hopeless – the official goal is to repatriate 25 people out of tens of thousands.
For the program, ETV interviewed three such potential talents in New York who weren’t quite ready to pack their suitcases.
"My first question is why does [Estonia] need them back? Perhaps they can be more productive where they are now?” asked art curator Karin Laansoo. “I think physical presence isn’t the most important part."
Owner of Estonia Piano, Indrek Laul, said “Bring Talent Home” is a nice gesture, but that it’s not for him. "I feel that I would like to be home in Estonia, but I have to be here for Estonia Piano to do well,” said Laul. “If we want to have a functioning exports market […] then that means being at hand and getting a local education. We need to get a feel for the culture and the market environment for the product to be successful."
Kärt Ulman, editor of New York’s Estonian-language newspaper, Vaba Eesti Sõna (Free Estonian Word), said “Bring Talent Home” is little more than slogans. "President Ilves has come to New York every year and invited Estonians to come home, but does this thing really have any substance? Does the program have the necessary infrastructure?” she asked. “If all these Estonians began coming back, what would become of them? ”

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