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The President of the Republic met with representatives of NGOs

President Arnold Rüütel on his tour of Läänemaa this afternoon arrived in the Rural Municipality of Lihula where archaeologist Mati Mandel acquainted him with the archaeological area of Lihula and the Director of the Museum of Lihula, Arvi Sits, with the museum.

The President of the Republic took part in a conversation circle of representatives of nongovernmental organisations at the Adult Education School of Lihula where the role of nongovernmental organisations and third sector in society was under discussion. The representatives of NGOs were interested in what possibilities the European Union was offering for implementing their projects. Peter Gornischeff, Chief Specialist of the Ministry of Finance, too, gave answers to their questions.

The nongovernmental organisations are not content with the present situation where they have to finance their projects, at first, with loans reimbursed from EU funds only after the completion of the projects. At the same time, the conversation circle came to the conclusion that, considering the given funding mechanisms, tactics like these were inevitable.

President Rüütel acknowledged the nongovernmental organisations for having done what the state had not managed to do, and expressed the opinion that citizens’ organisations contributed to the development of participatory democracy and convergence between the people and state structures.

The President of the Republic suggested that the Ministry of Finance should train for each county a specialist who would instruct local authorities and those involved in projects in how to prepare proper projects. According to the Chief Specialist of the Ministry of Finance, an idea like this was already in the making.

Thereafter, President Rüütel visited the Centre of Matsalu Nature Reserve where the Director of the Centre, Taivo Kasepõld, spoke about the centre’s research activities and the Deputy Director, Kaja Lotman, gave explanations at the museum of the nature reserve.

The visit of the President of the Republic to Läänemaa will end this evening with a picnic at a farm by the name of Tooma.

Office of the President
Kadriorg, August 20, 2003

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