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Prime Minister Andrus Ansip gave an overview of the situation in research and development activities and the Government’s policy in this sphere to the Riigikogu. In Ansip’s evaluation, as he pointed out in his report, the Government’s policy in research and development had been effective. “Investments in research and development in public sector and private sector increased by a total of 15 per cent in 2007. In 2008, research and development costs are expected to grow significantly because the Government has made several big investments and has opened large-scale support measures both for scientists and undertakings,” noted Ansip. Saying that it would be possible to reach very close to costs level amounting to 1.5 per cent of GDP in 2009, the Prime Minister believed that achievement of the goal of 3 per cent by 2014 was realistic.

In order to increase competitiveness, Ansip saw a priority in targeting finances to such spheres as expanding the exporting capacity of enterprises, technology and product development, education, environment infrastructure, strategic transport objects, energy saving and health care and, equally importantly, research and development. “In following years, I consider it especially important in science and innovation to enhance international ambition and to link up science and enterprise,” stressed the Prime Minister. Infrastructure and highly qualified people are a prerequisite for quality in science and, in Ansip’s words, this is what has given reason for large-scale financing decisions. The Prime Minister pointed out as examples the mobility programme “DoRa” for students and teachers and the researcher mobility programme “Mobilitas,” launched by the Ministry of Education and Research. Ansip considered it important that the energy sector development plan which provides the commencement of preparations for construction of a nuclear power station be discussed in the Riigikogu in 2009. “If we set as our goal to construct a nuclear power station by 2023, then we must start to train specialists as soon as possible who would participate in the construction of the nuclear power station and help operate it later,” said the Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister is convinced that this year’s and next year’s decisions of the Government concerning research and development will have a significant positive impact on Estonia’s competitiveness and contribute to the increase of productivity, increase of export and development of the skills of employees.
Comments were presented by Members of the Riigikogu Marek Strandberg, Peeter Tulviste, Aadu Must and Hannes Astok.
On the motion of the Economic Affairs Committee as the leading committee, the second reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Aviation Act and the Weapons Act (316 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded. The purpose of the Bill is to establish the legal basis for appointing armed cabin crew members in aircraft in order to ensure security on board of aircraft. It also regulates the procedure which provides the obligation to notify of armed cabin crew members. A new chapter is added to the Aviation Act which provides the creation of an information system of supervision over air safety. The specified information system is a database in which the data relating to aviation activities are processed with the objective of providing the Civil Aviation Administration with the data required on the basis of Acts and other legislation and necessary for exercise of state supervision. The Bill was sent to the third reading.
On the motion of the Environmental Committee as the leading committee, the second reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Government of the Republic Act and to Other Acts, related to Merger of Environmental Authorities of the Ministry of the Environment, the State Nature Conservation Centre and the Radiation Protection Centre into the Environment Protection Board (367 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded. The Bill is intended for merging the abovementioned environment agencies. The Estonian Green Party Faction moved to suspend the second reading of the Bill, but the plenary assembly did not support the motion. 46 members of the Riigikogu voted against the motion to suspend and 7 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour. The Bill was sent to the third reading.
On the motion of the Legal Affairs Committee as the leading committee, the first reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Police Service Act, the Defence Forces Service Act, the Border Guard Service Act, the Prosecutor’s Office Act, the Courts Act, the Chancellor of Justice Act, the National Audit Office Act, the Members of the XII Supreme Council of the Republic of Estonia and of the VII, VIII and IX Riigikogu Pension Act and the President of the Republic Official Benefits Act (375 SE), initiated by Members of the Riigikogu Hanno Pevkur, Urmas Reinsalu and Hannes Rumm, was concluded. The Bill is intended for reorganising the bases for payment of state special pensions. It harmonises the principle that a person who is employed in a position which grants him or her the right to receive special pension and is released from his or her position upon the entry into force of a judgment of conviction of an intentionally committed criminal offence will lose the right to state special pension. The Bill also sets out that if a person who receives special pension is convicted of an intentionally committed criminal offence against the state or against honesty, then he or she will lose special pension. The Bill was sent to the second reading.
The Draft Resolution “Measures for Reducing Information Technology Costs of State and Promotion of Information Technology Innovation” (374 OE), initiated by the Estonian Green Party Faction, which was at the first reading was not passed at the final voting. 42 members of the Riigikogu voted against the Resolution and 7 voted in favour, nobody abstained.
See the verbatim record (in Estonian):
The Riigikogu Press Service