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At today’s sitting of the Riigikogu, the Chairman of the Board of the Estonian Development Fund Pirko Konsa gave an overview of the activities of the Estonian Development Fund in 2013–2014. 

Konsa explained that, according to law, the objective of the Development Fund is to stimulate and support changes in the Estonian economy. “For that, we have two fields of activities – investments and foresight,” she said. Konsa said that the team of the Development Fund comprises 20 members at present, and it has been fulfilling the tasks set by the Riigikogu for as long as seven years. In her estimation, the organisation is a unique one. “On the one hand, we are a brain trust who, among few in Estonia, engages in far-reaching development scenarios,” Konsa noted. The Development Fund manages, through its investment enterprise, an early stage investment fund of more than 33 million euro, of which more than 10 million has been invested by today. In addition to investment capital, the portfolio enterprises of the Development Fund have involved additional capital in an amount of more than 30 million euro from private investors. Through foresight and growth programmes, it supports investment activities and creates preconditions so that more new innovative businesses with global potential, high added value jobs and knowledge-based capitalists would emerge in Estonia. 

The organisation of the foresight is based on the Estonian Development Fund Act and the action plan approved by the supervisory board, according to which the foresight areas of the Development Fund include business, green economy and energy, and smart specialisation. The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, the Ministry of Education and Research and the Ministry of the Environment are the contractors and partners of the foresight and growth programmes. Greater relevant cooperation is also done with Riigikogu committees, particularly with the Economic Affairs Committee and the Environment Committee. 

Smart specialisation is part of the financing strategy of the European Union structural funds in the new period. Under the supervision of the Development Fund, a qualitative analysis process had been carried out in the accounting period and, as a result of that, the growth areas of smart specialisation had been selected which include information and communication technology, health technologies and cleantech. The further role of the Development Fund in the field of smart specialisation is to make proposals for structuring the support measures of each area, and to support the leading committee for implementing the strategy, and to monitor the implementation. For that purpose, by the time of publication of this report, the Development Fund has significantly increased the team of the specialists engaged in this area. 

The representatives of factions Valdo Randpere, Jaak Aaviksoo, Tiit Tammsaar and Kalev Kallo, who took the floor during the debate, highlighted the positive aspects of the activities of the Development Fund and presented their positions for planning further cooperation in their comments. Importance was attached to the analysis of the bottlenecks in the business landscape and the improvement of strategic planning. 

The Riigikogu concluded the second reading of two Bills:

The aim of the Bill on Amendments to the Health Care Services Organisation Act and the Traffic Act (667 SE), initiated by the Government, is to give a patient the right to forward a health declaration for the assessment of his or her state of health to a health care provider via the health information system. The submission of a health declaration to the health care provider of the patient is necessary for the assessment of his or her state of health before the issue of a medical certificate. The Bill is also connected with the updating of the submission of medical certificates with a view to creating a possibility for health care providers to submit them to the Road Administration electronically via the health information system. For that purpose, the provisions relating to medical examination in the Traffic Act are amended. 

The Bill on Amendments to the Health Insurance Act and the Occupational Health and Safety Act (679 SE), initiated by the Government, amends the Acts with the aim of allowing the issuing of certificates of incapacity for work and the submission of the certificates to employers and the health insurance fund to be done electronically. For implementation of the electronic certificate of incapacity for work, amendments will need to be made in the abovementioned Acts. The implementation of the electronic certificate of incapacity for work will enable a person to receive the benefit for incapacity for work more quickly, reduce the costs relating to the issuing of certificates of incapacity for work incurred by doctors and midwives, enable employers to be relieved from the obligation to submit paper certificates of incapacity for work to the health insurance fund, and thereby save postage costs and time upon submission of data. It will also increase the transparency of the system of the issuing of certificates of incapacity for work and of the submission of the certificates to the health insurance fund, and the quality of the data submitted, and enable the health insurance fund to optimise the processing of certificates of incapacity for work. In the future, a certificate of incapacity for work may be issued on paper only in the case when, for technical reasons, it is impossible to forward data electronically to the health insurance database of the health insurance fund, or when a paper certificate issued in a foreign state is submitted to the health insurance fund. 

The Riigikogu Press Service 

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