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Eleven new Parties signed the National Agreement

Today, during a festive ceremony at the Presidential Palace, in the presence of the President of the Republic, the National Agreement was signed by eleven new Parties: Tartu Aviation College, Tartu Art College, Estonian Maritime Academy, Tallinn College of Engineering, Estonian Information Technology College, Estonian Rural Women's Association, Välis-Eesti Ühing (Association for Estonians Abroad, Estonian Sports Association Kalev, Estonian Food and Agricultural Workers' Union, Association of International Pharmaceutical Manufacturers in Estonia, and Estonian Pensioners Union.

President Rüütel at the signing ceremony emphasized that the agreement was an ongoing process opened for the accession in future too. "In the Estonian life, the rapid development of civil society increasingly sets the tone. Today, the National Agreement thanks to the support of its Parties plays prominent role in influencing this process and in filling gaps in the development. The important issues of social sphere, which concern all of us and on which I have also focused in my inauguration speech in 2001, are widely reflected in the public. I would like to thank the Riigikogu and the Government of the Republic because the 2004 state budget takes account of the need to address social problems, to which our whole society pays attention. I am particularly glad to see that families are valued," the President of the Republic said.

Aadu Luukas, Chairman of the Board of the Public Understanding Foundation, stressed in his remarks that, in 2004, the Forum of the Agreement should continue its work implementing the existing Agreement and tackling new problems. Peter Kreitzberg, Chairman of the Board of the Estonian Sports Association Kalev, spoke on behalf of the signatory organisations.

The first National Agreement of Estonia was signed on 20 October in the Winter Garden of the Estonian National Opera. The Agreement primarily focuses on children and education. The undersigned regard it as Estonia's pivotal development goal that by 2015 the living standards be at least doubled and the social inequality, at the same time, considerably reduced.

Public Relations Unit of the Office of the President
Kadriorg, December 22, 2003

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