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The Economic Affairs Committee discussed the accession to the convention for the establishment of the European Space Agency (ESA), and decided to support this.

The Chairman of the Committee Toomas Kivimägi said that although the accession would oblige Estonia to contribute to the budget of the Agency, it would also make it possible for Estonian businesses to participate in ESA procurements.

Kivimägi added that it would be pointless to participate in the activities of the Agency cursorily, i.e. only in the compulsory programmes, and that this is why the Committee also supports participation in the elective programmes of the Agency, which Estonia would support with EUR 600,000 a year.

Membership in the ESA would benefit businesses and research and development institutions alike, through directed procurements of the ESA as well as by winning public calls for tenders by ESA.

“This is a good example of how Estonian R&D can support Estonian businesses,” said member of the Committee Maris Lauri, who has seen similar examples in other fields. “But now we are taking this to a cosmic level.”

When joining the Agency, Estonia must make a single special payment of EUR 600,000, and a yearly payment of EUR 870,000. EUR 500,000 of this will be used during the transition period (2016–2022) for directed procurements from Estonian businesses and research and development institutions. EUR 260,000 will go towards the overall expenses of the ESA, and EUR 50,000 towards the upkeep of the infrastructure necessary for launching launchers. The remaining EUR 60,000 is for Estonian businesses and research and development institutions for making offers within the obligatory research programmes of the ESA.

In addition to the direct benefits, participation in the activities of the ESA will also improve the visibility of our businesses on the international level, allow them to move forward in the value chain, integrate into important supply chains, and introduce space applications into terrestrial economy.

The Bill on Ratification of the Agreement Concerning Estonia’s Accession to the Convention for the Establishment of the European Space Agency (39 SE) will be sent to the first reading on June 2. The accession to the Agency is planned for September of this year.

The Bill initiated by the Government provides the accession to the convention for the establishment of the European Space Agency (ESA), and the ratification of the agreement between Estonia and ESA concerning Estonia’s accession to the convention for the establishment of the European Space Agency.

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