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Prime Minister Andrus Ansip replied to the interpellation concerning Estonia’s policy for increasing equality at the decision-making level (No 274), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Andres Anvelt, Eiki Nestor, Heljo Pikhof, Helmen Kütt, Jaak Allik, Jaan Õunapuu, Kajar Lember, Kalev Kotkas, Kalvi Kõva, Karel Rüütli, Marianne Mikko, Mart Meri, Neeme Suur and Rannar Vassiljev on 24 January. 

Marianne Mikko who spoke on behalf of the interpellators referred to the Resolution of the Government of 13 December according to which Estonia does not support the setting of quota for the gender division among non-executive directors of companies listed on stock exchanges at the European Union level. At the same time the Government had agreed with the approach that in all Member States women and men have to be guaranteed equal opportunities to work in leading positions, and in principle it supports the European Commission’s general aim to guarantee the more balanced representation of women and men among the members of the management bodies of companies listed on stock exchanges. Mikko asked why Estonia opposed the 40% gender quota for boards of publicly traded companies. 

Ansip explained that if the option is between outdated stereotypes and rational arguments, then as a rule the Government prefers the latter when making decisions, and that had been the case also with gender quotas. He noted that the positions of the Government had been discussed at five standing committees of the Riigikogu. All committees had decided to support the Government’s approach. All eleven publicly traded companies whom this proposal may have concerned had also been involved in discussions. Publicly traded companies had also considered the competence of the persons who are appointed to boards as the primary criterion. “As is said in the positions that have been approved, the Government supports equal opportunities for women and men to work in leading positions in all Member States,” Ansip underlined. “We support the Commission’s general aim to guarantee the more balanced representation of women and men among the members of the management bodies of companies listed on stock exchanges. The establishment of a mandatory target number by an EU directive would concern only a small number of companies and would at the same time be an excessive infringement of the freedom of enterprise,” Ansip said. 

According to the Prime Minister’s explanations, the Government considers it important that the awareness of the society and undertakings is raised on a broad basis in order to increase equality at the decision-making level. In his words, greater awareness of gender equality is paramount for the emergence of an environment free from prejudice in making occupation and career choices. At the EU level, Ansip highlighted the importance of the experience of Member States and the exchange of good practices, as well as pan-European information activities and measures by which companies are encouraged to voluntarily set targets to increase the number of women on their boards. In defining the corporate governance framework at the EU level, the Government first of all supports the indicative instruments,” Ansip noted. 

The Prime Minister replied to three more interpellations. They were the following: 

the interpellation concerning the increase of the number of drug-related deaths in 2012 (No 276), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Andres Anvelt, Eiki Nestor, Heljo Pikhof, Helmen Kütt, Indrek Saar, Jaan Õunapuu, Kalev Kotkas, Kalvi Kõva, Karel Rüütli, Mart Meri, Neeme Suur, Rannar Vassiljev and Rein Randver on 28 January; 

the interpellation concerning the sponsorship agreements of Estonian Air (No 279), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Eldar Efendijev, Enn Eesmaa, Ester Tuiksoo, Kalev Kallo, Lauri Laasi, Mihhail Stalnuhhin, Peeter Võsa, Priit Toobal, Tarmo Tamm, Valeri Korb, Viktor Vassiljev, Vladimir Velman and Yana Toom on 30 January; 

the interpellation concerning prudent administration of Estonian Air Ltd shares held by the state (No 282), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Andres Anvelt, Heljo Pikhof, Helmen Kütt, Indrek Saar, Jaak Allik, Jaan Õunapuu, Jevgeni Ossinovski, Kajar Lember, Kalev Kotkas, Kalvi Kõva, Karel Rüütli, Mart Meri, Neeme Suur, Rannar Vassiljev, Rein Randver and Sven Mikser on 31 January. 

The Minister of Social Affairs Taavi Rõivas replied to two interpellations. They were the following: 

the interpellation concerning the financing of nursing care (No 272), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Enn Eesmaa, Kalev Kallo, Mihhail Stalnuhhin, Peeter Võsa, Valeri Korb, Viktor Vassiljev and Vladimir Velman on 23 January; 

the interpellation concerning the reform of hospitals in South-East Estonia (No 290), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Heimar Lenk, Marika Tuus-Laul, Mihhail Stalnuhhin and Valeri Korb on 14 February. 

The Minister of Internal Affairs Ken-Marti Vaher replied to four interpellations. They were the following: 

the interpellation concerning the salaries of police officers (No 266), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Eldar Efendijev, Mailis Reps, Marika Tuus-Laul, Mihhail Stalnuhhin, Peeter Võsa, Tarmo Tamm, Valeri Korb, Viktor Vassiljev, Vladimir Velman and Yana Toom on 21 January; 

the interpellation concerning the situation in South-Läänemaa (No 269), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Ester Tuiksoo, Mihhail Stalnuhhin, Peeter Võsa and Vladimir Velman on 22 January; 

the interpellation concerning road traffic fatalities (No 273), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Enn Eesmaa, Lauri Laasi, Mihhail Stalnuhhin, Viktor Vassiljev and Vladimir Velman on 23 January; 

the interpellation concerning vacant positions in Ida-Virumaa Police Prefecture (No 275), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Eldar Efendijev, Enn Eesmaa, Ester Tuiksoo, Lauri Laasi, Mailis Reps, Mihhail Stalnuhhin, Peeter Võsa, Tarmo Tamm, Valeri Korb, Viktor Vassiljev, Vladimir Velman and Yana Toom on 28 January. 

On the motion of the Social Affairs Committee, the second reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Medicinal Products Act, the Penal Code and the State Fees Act (332 SE), initiated by the Government, was removed from the agenda for the working week. 

The sitting ended at 8.24 p.m. 

The Riigikogu Press Service

 

 

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