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The President of the Republic is on a visit to France

President Arnold Rüütel and Mrs Ingrid Rüütel today embarked on a working visit to France. To the delegation accompanying the President belong Minister Jaan Õunapuu, local government specialists and employees of the President's Office. During the visit, the Estonian Head of State is going to meet with French President Jacques Chirac and Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin, familiarize himself with the organisation of local government in France and introduce Estonia to potential investors.

This morning, President Rüütel visited the town of Louvres and a local family grain farm that was introduced by its owner Jean-Marie Faussier who is also President of the Association of Family Farms. The participants in the meeting talked about regional development in France, influence of European Union subsidies on local agriculture, and the position and future of this branch of economy in their respective countries.

President Rüütel asked how many of the local youth were interested in and had possibilities to be engaged in agriculture, and noted that rural and work culture had no future without continuity across generations. Local entrepreneurs agreed with his opinion and assured that the interest of French youth in agriculture exceeded their practical possibilities to set up in this line of business. The Estonian President also took interest in what were the proportion of organic farming and the influence of EU subsidies on the development of agriculture.

This evening, President Rüütel will deliver a talk entitled "European Union Enlargement – Building a More Competitive Europe" at an international investment conference at St. Nazaire.

Office of the President
Kadriorg, June 26, 2003

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