Taimar Ala, Director of the Estonian Environment Agency, notes that applying for this tender is indeed ambitious. Simply by submitting its candidacy, Estonia is already actively shaping its reputation as the place to be for international organisations and top specialists. “In addition to this centre becoming the top of its field, we would also increase the image of Estonia as an attractive employer by offering jobs with high qualifications and salaries,” Ala explains.
Estonia’s bid relies strongly on the quality of life in Tallinn, the best-preserved medieval city in Northern Europe, as well as its famously tech-savvy and forward-thinking environment. With the third-highest concentration of start-ups in Europe, Tallinn attracts high-skilled specialists from across the globe. According to the OECD, the Estonian education system is the best in Europe, offering an extra incentive for top international specialists with families.
Candidate countries for the ECMWF office will be evaluated, among other things, on their scientific and social environments, the sustainability of the planned building, and connectivity with other European hotspots. The European Weather Centre is headquartered in the United Kingdom and a new computing centre will open in 2021 in Italy. A branch office in Estonia would draw a triangle across the map of Europe, bringing different European regions together—both literally and symbolically—for a common goal.
Estonia has submitted its bid to host the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts. If the application is successful, this would not be the first high-calibre organisation to be drawn to Estonia: from the NATO Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence to the EU-LISA agency of the European Union, Tallinn is already home to a number of notable international institutions.