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The authors of the new Estonian Human Development Report (EHDR 2009), published by the Estonian Cooperation Assembly, say Estonia must overcome the current state of social stagnation and needs a more positive mentality and self-confidence in the coming decade, reports bbn.ee. “The human development problems exacerbated by the economic crisis pose a serious challenge to Estonia’s ability to critically assess the development path it has been on so far and to efficiently rectify the situation where necessary,” said Marju Lauristin, professor at the University of Tartu and Editor-in-Chief of EHDR 2009. “Estonia has developed at an astonishing rate, being driven primarily by international development goals related to ensuring security in terms of economic affairs and foreign policy. Estonia is poised to join the OECD, and a decision will also be made soon regarding Estonia’s accession to the euro zone - an achievement that probably everyone in Estonia has themselves [worked for] in 2009,” says Peep Muhls, CEO of the Estonian Cooperation Assembly.
The fact that people of pension age in Estonia do not leave the labor market but continue working and contributing to society is Estonia’s major advantage against other countries, stated Prime Minister Andrus Ansip, writes National Broadcasting. “I feel that in the context of an economic crisis, we should not disrupt the tradition, the solid system that has been developed in Estonia by now,” said Ansip in an interview with National Broadcasting. He feels that some people think that new jobs could be created by mechanical moves – to retire working pensioners, fill their positions with unemployed persons and thus, as if by “magic,” solve the unemployment problem. Ansip argued that those who are currently out of work would not be qualified to replace the elderly employees, such as teachers, who are of pension age.
A survey carried out by the policy research think tank Praxis shows that increasing contributions for preventing HIV would decrease the costs incurred by the virus, reports Eesti Paevaleht. Praxis analyzed the amount of money the HIV epidemic cost the State, and concluded that from 2000 to 2007, Estonia failed to collect 3.1 billion kroons (198.7 million euros) in revenue because of the virus. This was the first time that all costs involved with people getting ill and dying due the virus have been calculated. This amount does not involve the costs of treating other illnesses that HIV positive patients also get. “The study also revealed that awareness of HIV is occasionally still low and HIV positive patients still feel that they are often discriminated against,” said Mairi Juriska, head of non-profit organization Terve Eesti, and of the coalition Ettevotted HIV Vastu (Businesses Against HIV). As of end of 2009, 7,320 persons in Estonia had been diagnosed with HIV.