TALLINN - Investing in research and innovation is not a luxury, but a necessary step in maintaining the competitiveness of the European Union, Estonian Prime Minister Juri Ratas said in his opening remarks at an international conference at the Tallinn Creative Hub on Thursday.
"If the funding of research does not increase, the competitiveness of the European Union will decrease and we will lose in the competition for talents. Furthermore, many technology-based and research-intensive products will remain undeveloped. The topic should become a clear priority in Europe as well as in the member states," Ratas said opening the conference titled "European Research Excellence -- Impact and Value for Society."
"Funding research is also a priority for Estonia. I am proud to say that the Estonian Government has decided to increase the 2018 state budget allocations for research and innovations by 11 percent. The aim is to reach 3 percent of GDP spending target by 2020, of which 1 percent should be public sector and 2 percent private sector spending," the prime minister said according to spokespeople.
"The goal of the Estonian presidency of the EU Council is to support the increase in investments in research and development as well as innovation and for this change to also be reflected in the next multi-annual financial framework of the European Union," Ratas said.
The prime minister handed over the Tallinn Call for Action 2017 to the representatives of the European Commission and stakeholders. "The aim of the call is to ensure broad political commitment for increasing research and innovation funding. In addition, we should strive to better acknowledge and value the role of research in economic development and increasing competitiveness in our societies," he said.