The President of the Riigikogu Ene Ergma made a plenary paper today at the international conference “The Baltic Sea Strategy – a New Challenge for Knowledge-Based Regional and Local Governance and Integrated Co-operation”.
Ergma touched on three issues in her report: research and development cooperation, the situation of the marine environment and monitoring thereof, and the connection of the region with Central Europe.
The President of the Riigikogu referred to the fact that the process initiated by the European Union ten years earlier which had aimed to make the Union the most dynamic and competitive knowledge-based economic region in the world by the year 2010 had not been remarkably successful in comparison with the USA or even China. “It is well known that a real breakthrough in a certain direction is possible only if two basic conditions are fulfilled: first, the existence of high-level human capital and, second, great financial opportunities,” stressed Ergma. She noted that the European common research space is fragmented into 27 spaces with 27 research and development financial opportunities and she set up a question: “How to make 27 countries think towards the creation of a common research policy?”
“I have been thinking if it would be possible to create a considerably smaller but uniform Baltic Sea research space which would ensure uniform financing by states and concentration of the human potential in certain fields, for example, information, bio- and nanotechnology,” reflected Ergma and she added that we are in a competition here in the Baltic Sea region as well. To quote Ms Ergma: “Instead of competing with each other, we should strive towards greater cooperation and thereby offer competition to the research centres of big countries.” Ergma made a proposal to consider establishing of the Baltic Sea Institute for Technology.
The President of the Riigikogu called to overcome national egoism because the world will not wait until we clear matters up among ourselves but continues developing. She added that she was pleased that the fifth freedom of the European Union, the free movement of knowledge, was being spoken about. “I am convinced that, besides developing a knowledge-based society and scientific research and formation of a relevant policy, it is time to begin to speak about the financing of research and, more specifically, about objectives and the instruments for achieving them. I see it as the greatest opportunity to really do something for the region, besides the protection of the marine environment,” Ergma expressed her hope.
Ergma also touched upon the connection of our region with Central Europe and she regretted that there had been no great positive developments regarding road and railway transport. She agreed with Siim Kallas’ idea that the state also has to intervene in air traffic in order to improve the connection of Eastern Europe with Europe.
In conclusion, Ergma believed that a more efficient cooperation would emerge in the monitoring of the marine environment, and space cooperation in the sphere of remote monitoring might be of help here. “Reduction of euthropication, protection of marine biota and coping with the risks arising from economic activities are challenges for all of us. I cannot help mentioning, however, that realisation of the Nord Stream project will increase the environmental risks of the Gulf of Finland and the Baltic Sea as a whole. We share the Baltic Sea and the responsibility for its future. And that through our decisions of yesterday, today and tomorrow,” said Ergma.
The Riigikogu Press Service