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Today, Prime Minister Andrus Ansip gave an overview of the situation of research and development activities and the respective Government’s policy to the Riigikogu.

 

Ansip stressed in his report that science and development are one of the main motors of development to steer Estonia out of the economic recession. “Without innovativeness, product development and implementation of new scientific solutions we cannot speak about greater export capacity and increased added value in the future. Preconditions for new growth have been created by consistent increase of research and development investments in both public and private sectors,” said Ansip. The Prime Minister pointed out that, in the annual European innovation ranking, Estonia places fifteenth among 32 countries and first among the Eastern European Countries. Ansip believes that the interim target set when preparing the strategy “Knowledge based Estonia”, to increase research and development investments to 1.5 per cent of GDP, will be achieved in 2009. As challenges of the Estonian science and innovation, the Prime Minister mentioned continuously higher quality, increased internationalisation, closer cooperation, the existence of high-level scientists and engineers, linking up of science and enterprise, and increasing the added value. In financing, priority is given to infrastructure, development of human resources and increase of supports to the private sector. In Ansip’s words, the new Research and Development Organisation Bill will be presented to the Riigikogu in 2010.
 
Ansip pointed out the new Chemicum of Tartu University, opened this year, as one of the most modern buildings of science in Europe in the last ten years, the scientific library of Tallinn University of Technology and the programme “E-Science Information”. Ansip spoke about Estonia as an attractive place in the eyes of foreign students and scientists, and about hiring top teaching staff. He also mentioned the Estonian Academy of Sciences Act to be passed soon which will help significantly increase the authority of the Academy of Sciences. The Prime Minister recognised the active position of the Economic Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu in handling the innovation issues.
 
On behalf of the factions of the Riigikogu, comments were presented by Peeter Tulviste, Helmer Jõgi, Peeter Kreitzberg, Marek Strandberg, Karel Rüütli and Rein Ratas.
 
The Riigikogu passed with 85 votes in favour the Act on Amendments to § 197 of the Defence Forces Service Act (545 SE), initiated by the National Defence Committee, which grants a retired member of the Defence Forces for whom the right to receive the pension was created before 1 January 2007 the possibility to choose the pension corresponding to the highest position which the person held which is more favourable for him or her, instead of the pension corresponding to the highest position which the person held during the last five years of his or her contractual active service which is the basis for calculating the pension at present. Such possibility was provided for Members of the Defence Forces in the Defence Forces Service Act which was in force before 1 January 2007.
 
On the motion of the Foreign Affairs Committee as the leading committee, the second reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Foreign Service Act (619 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded.
 
On the motion of the Environmental Committee as the leading committee, the second reading of the Bill on Amendments to § 23³ of the Land Reform Act (630 SE), initiated by the same Committee, was concluded.
 
On the motion of the Social Affairs Committee, the Bill on Amendments to the Estonian Health Insurance Fund Act (592 SE), initiated by the Estonian Centre Party Faction, was rejected at the first reading. The result of voting: 47 votes in favour, 33 against.
 
The verbatim record of the sitting (in Estonian) is available at:
 
The Riigikogu Press Service
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