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Today the deliberation of Estonia?s demographic situation and prospects was held in the Riigikogu as a matter of significant national importance. The reports were made by Prime Minister Juhan Parts, Minister Paul-Erik Rummo and Chairperson of the Social Affairs Committee Mai Treial.

In the words of Juhan Parts we are obliged to deliberate the question of Estonia?s demographic situation as a matter of significant national importance, because all that has so far been done is not sufficient. ?Policy means options. And our option to give an extra impact to population growth is an extremely important one, ? Mr. Parts said. In his report Prime Minister referred to the fact that the decrease in the number of the Estonian population would become even faster when the present not especially numerous generation of minors would reach the childbirth age and the demographic behaviour of the people would not change ? during a generation there would remain 750,000 Estonians. Mr. Parts added that there would be work for scientists, and the Government did not expect that the scientists would only raise the problems, but also show realistic solutions to them. He also referred to the fact that the aging of the population must be taken care of, because our average life expectancy is unacceptably short. Prime Minister stressed three future challenges:  1) to preserve conservative family values, 2) to create certainty about the future in an earlier age and 3) to reach an understanding in the Riigikogu as well as in the Government that almost each resolution has influence on how many children are there in Estonia and which is their quality of life.

Minister Paul-Eerik Rummo gave a brief survey of the present situation concerning the Estonian population on the grounds of basic demographic indicators and of the general trends of the population policy source document soon submitted to the Government of the Republic for deliberation.

Chairperson of the Social Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu Mai Treial stressed in her report the importance of the Public Understanding Agreement showing that the confidence in the need and capability of the civil society was developing in the Estonian society. In the words of Mai Treial the deliberations about the future of the Estonian people will have to be higher than party interests. She thinks that it is very important to admit that the demographic crisis in Estonia exists, and proceeding from that to start looking for possibilities to restore the growth of the population. Chairperson of the Social Affairs Committee noted that the principal task of the Committee would be to draft a plan of action as a part of the Bases of the Estonian Population Policy for the Years 2004-2007, and also to review the legal acts related to the family and population policy.

Many Members of the Riigikogu took the floor in the mentioned matters.

Due to the end of the working hours of the plenary meeting, the first reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Taxation Act (107 SE), initiated by the Mõõdukad Faction, was adjourned. The deliberation will be resumed tomorrow, at the sitting beginning at 14.00.


The Riigikogu Press Service