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The President's Academic Council held a meeting

The President' Academic Council at its meeting this afternoon at Kadriorg discussed a draft of the national agreement, a plan for the reform of regional administration and Estonia' accession to the European Union.

The Chairman of the Board of the Public Understanding Foundation, Aadu Luukas, beginning his talk recollected that a year ago, on 6 September 2002, the President's Academic Council had approved of the idea to conclude a national agreement. To this day, a memorandum of goodwill among 39 parties had been signed and the draft agreement and description of its basic concept prepared.

The Members of the Academic Council acknowledged the work done and efforts made to reach in society consensus on determining priority goals. It was underscored that the national agreement was not to replace development plans or other implementing documents but rather to be an essential starting point for the latter.

President Rüütel noted that the agreement would be a sign of the will of acceding political parties and citizens associations to stand up for Estonia' national interests. Therefore, the Head of State deemed it logical that the agreement be signed before the referendum on the accession to the European Union.

Thereafter, Minister Jaan Õunapuu presented the plan for the reform of regional administration, the implementation of which was supported by Council Members. As noted by the Rector of the University of Tartu, Jaak Aaviksoo, the implementation of the plan would change the general political culture of Estonia and open up opportunities to conduct efficient regional policy. Kalle Merusk, Professor of the University of Tartu, on behalf of the Council' working group offered academic help to develop the concept further.

After hearing an overview of how Estonia' interests are represented in the processes going on in the European Union, given by Academician Endel Lippmaa and Head of the European Union Secretariat Henrik Hololei, the Academic Council deemed it necessary to express support for Estonia' accession to the European Union.

Office of the President
Kadriorg, September 5, 2003

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