06/06/2003 - Unemployment in rural areas of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania is already high but could well rise further after the Baltic countries join the European Union in 2004, according to the OECD. The labour and social policy reforms put in place in the region over the past decade to prepare for increased market competition within the EU have failed to cut rural joblessness, particularly among the young.
Tackling rural unemployment and boosting the low and volatile incomes of farmers across the Baltic countries is thus a pressing concern. The OECD will bring together experts and policy makers from across Europe for a seminar from 10-12 June, 2003 at the Estonian Ministry of Agriculture in Tallinn to explore ways of resolving these and other problems through viable rural development policies.
A news conference presented by Tiit Tammsaar, Estonia's Minister of Agriculture, and Ken Ash, the OECD's Deputy Director of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries will be held at the end of the seminar at 12.30 on Thursday 12 June, at the Ministry of Agriculture, Lai Street 39/41 Tallinn, Estonia.
Journalists who wish to attend the news conference or any of the sessions of the three-day seminar entitled: Agriculture and rural incomes, labour mobility and rural development policies in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, are invited to contact Ms. Janika Salev, Head of Public Relations Bureau, Estonian Ministry of Agriculture (tel: +372 6256 183) or Kadri Liimal, Press Officer, Estonian Ministry of Agriculture (tel: +372 6256 110).
For further information journalists should contact Stephen Di Biasio, OECD Media Relations Division (tel: +33 1 4524 8103).