The working group formed on the initiative of the Economic Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu (Parliament of Estonia) found unanimously that Estonia needed long-term and cross-sectoral studies, and that the activities of the Development Fund have to be reorganised.
“The important activities of the Development Fund will be preserved, and it is possible that they will be transferred to more suitable places,” member of the Economic Affairs Committee Maris Lauri said. Mrs Lauri was the head of the development monitoring working group that consisted of the representatives of the factions of the Riigikogu.
Lauri noted that establishing of a research unit at the Riigikogu had been discussed as one of the possibilities. “Discussions and negotiations continue,” she said. “We will certainly involve various parties and interest groups.”
On the basis of the principles drafted by the working group, a bill on reorganising the activities of the Development Fund is being prepared in cooperation with the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications.
Lauri said that their aim was to get the amendments ready during the spring session of the Riigikogu. Until then, the Development Fund will continue with the inclusion of private capital into the management of SmartCap; when the preparations have been concluded, the investment portfolio will be handed over to KredEx. The unfinished monitoring activities will be continued, but no new studies will be started.
The working group found that the studies are necessary for the state in order to identify development possibilities, and also the risks threatening development prospects. The working group proposed to involve the best specialists of Estonia, and also foreign specialists, if necessary, in the research. “It is clear that the content of specific works changes over time, and therefore it is necessary to involve very different specialists, depending on the topic of studies,” Lauri explained. “Therefore the research should be conducted on project basis.”
Completed studies are presented at the Riigikogu sittings, and also in the committees and factions of the Riigikogu, but the working group considered it more important that they were introduced to the public at an annual conference, at various seminars and also other events.
The working group thinks that, in order to ensure the scientific quality of research, it is necessary to form a council which should include people of academic background. The Economic Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu should also be involved in the preparation of the research action plan. The Committee would adopt the budget of the independent unit.
The Riigikogu formed a working group to study the problems of development monitoring; Maris Lauri from the Reform Party Faction, Urve Palo from the Social Democratic Party Faction, Ken-Marti Vaher from the Pro Patria and Res Publica Union Faction, Mihhail Korb from the Centre Party faction and Krista Aru from the Free Party Faction are members of this working group.
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