Prime Minister Andrus Ansip made a political statement to the Riigikogu in connection with the submission of the next year state budget and this year supplementary budget. The next year budget’s amount of revenue is EEK 96.3 billion and the amount of expenditure EEK 93.6 billion.
Ansip said that the new government coalition will firmly continue the conservative budgetary policy. “The fact that we have managed to keep the finances of our country in order is one of the main factors that has made the economic environment of Estonia reliable and such rapid economic development possible,” stressed the Prime Minister.
“Last year at the same time we were happy to have for the first time in the history of our state a budget that was planned with strong surplus, with 1.1 billion kroons on the plus side, but the bill that was submitted by the Government to the Riigikogu today includes a surplus of nearly 2.7 billion kroons in the budget of 2008,” said Ansip.
In total, EEK 3.6 billion or 13% of GDP have been planned for the government sector surplus. It is the same amount that was planned for 2008 in the convergence programme submitted to the European Commission last autumn. “I believe we have found reasonable balance between saving and investing”, said the Prime Minister.
The supplementary budget of 2007 amount of revenue is EEK 6.2 billion and the amount of expenditure is EEK 2.7 billion. “3.5 billion, it means nearly 60% of the budget’s extra revenue, will be appointed to the reserves,” said Ansip. In drawing up the supplementary budget the Government has taken into account that the expenditures of the surplus budget should not incite domestic demand and consumer boom on the Estonian market. 2.4% of GDP, which is 0.5% more than the 1.9% planned in the state budget strategy in spring, is planned for the government sector surplus in 2007. The largest expenditure article of the supplementary budget is allocations to the Health Insurance Fund, EEK 1.09 billion. The government wants to allocate supplementary EEK 537 billion to cover the pension increase of 1 July.
After the Prime Minister, members of the Riigikogu Vilja Savisaar and Eiki Nestor took the floor.
The Riigikogu adopted with 75 votes in favour the Motor Third Party Liability Insurance Act, Insurance Activities Act and Traffic Act Amendment Act (48 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic. The Act introduces the amendments proceeding from the directives of the European Parliament and the Council directives into the Acts in force. The most prominent change is the increase of the limits of compensation to 1 million euros in case of property damage, and 5 million euros in case of personal injury per insured event, regardless of the number of injured parties. The Act will also change the requirement to have the insurance policy at hand and submit it on paper; in the future the cover will be checked via motor third party liability insurance register. In the future it will be enough to have the contracts and policies in the format which can be reproduced in writing.
The Riigikogu concluded the second reading of 13 Bills:
Bill on the Ratification of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement between the European Communities and Their Member States of the One Part, and the Republic of Albania of the Other Part (57 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic. The objective of the Agreement is to create an association between the Communities and their member states of the one part and Albania of the other part. The objectives of the Association are to support Albania in strengthening democracy and establishing rule of law;
Environmental Responsibility Bill (77 SE) initiated by the Government establishes the regulation for avoiding and compensating damage to the environment, and guarantees the restoration or repair of damaged environment by the person who caused the damage;
Bill on Amendments to Employment Services and Subsidies Act and Associated Acts (103 SE), initiated by the Government; will establish a labour policy information system that enables efficient analysis and monitoring of political measures in the sphere of labour policy;
Bill on the Denunciation of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention Concerning the Employment of Women during the Night (No. 41) and the Convention Concerning the Employment of Women on Underground Work in Mines of All Kinds (No. 45) (107 SE), initiated by the Government;
the reason for the Bill on the Amendments to the State Pension Insurance Act and the Funded Pensions Act (79 SE), initiated by the Government, is the regulation of the Council of the European Union that regulates the transfer of pension rights from the pension scheme of the European Communities institutions to the pension system of a member state, and vice versa. According to the Council regulation, a person who has worked in Estonia has upon starting work at a European Communities institution one-time right during 10 years after appointment to office to transfer his/her pension rights to the relevant pension scheme of the European Communities institutions. After termination of employment relationship the person who has worked in the European Communities institutions has similar right upon starting work in Estonia to transfer the pension rights he/she has acquired at the European Communities institutions;
Bill on the Ratification of the Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Estonia and the Government of the Republic of Singapore for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with Respect to Taxes on Income and the Protocol Thereto (96 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic. The purpose of agreements for the avoidance of double taxation is to favour investments, to ensure equal treatment of persons and to eliminate double taxation, which may occur as a result of joint influence of the Acts of two states;
one of the functions of the Bill on Amendments to the Securities Market Act and Associated Acts (108 SE), initiated by the Government, is guaranteeing the formation of common securities market of the European Union;
the purpose of the Bill on Amendments to the Border Guard Service Act (95 SE) is to make the order of conferring border Guard ranks clearer;
Bill on Amendments to the Police Act, the Aliens Act, the Obligation to Leave and Prohibition to Entry Act and Identity Documents Act (75 SE) creates a legislative basis for Estonia’s accession to the Schengen Information System. Through the latter the agencies appointed by the participants shall obtain via automated search process information on the border control of persons and objects or border and customs control carried out according to national law. The system also enables to exchange information on aliens on whom the prohibition of entry has been imposed;
the purpose of the EU directives taken over with the Bill on Amendments to the Aliens Act (99 SE), initiated by the Government, is to facilitate the migration of students and scientists from third states and to establish common standards for applying for residence permit. The Bill also aims to reduce the risks connected with illegal immigration;
Civil Status Acts Bill (68 SE), initiated by the Government, regulates the acts proceeding from the Family Law Bill (55 SE) deliberated by the Riigikogu, their legal bases and order. One of the most important changes initiated by the Bill will be transfer from civil status acts on paper to electronic civil status acts. In addition to that the Bill clarifies the bases for establishment of paternal filiation and stipulates that the caregiver of the child shall be entered in the population register. As a novelty, the Bill obligates the officials to wear a robe when contracting marriages;
Bill on Amendments to the Penal Code and the Code of Misdemeanour Procedure (106 SE), initiated by the Government, adds two necessary elements of a misdemeanour that are needed for the implementation of two Council (EC) regulations to the Penal Code. The purpose of the first regulation is to regulate the production and distribution of the so-called souvenir euros in order to eliminate the danger of using souvenir euros instead of euro coins;
Bill on Amendments to the Penal Code (74 SE), initiated by the Government. Pursuant to the European Parliament and Council Directive that deals with the marine pollution caused by ships and imposing punishments for damages connected with marine pollution, the Republic of Estonia has an obligation to include the regulation stipulated in this Directive in its domestic legislation. The Bill establishes the necessary amendments enabling the Republic of Estonia to fully implement the principles of the directive.
The Riigikogu rejected three Bills at the first reading:
On the motion of the Environment Committee: Bill on Amendments to the Environmental Charges Act (83 SE), initiated by the Estonian People’s Union. The result of voting: 46 votes in favour, 36 against.
On the motion of the Constitutional Committee: Bill on Amendments to § 8 of the Persons Repressed by Occupying Powers Act (53 SE), initiated by the Estonian Centre Party Faction The result of voting: 47 votes in favour, 35 against.
On the motion of the Constitutional Committee: Draft Resolution of the Riigikogu on the Formation of the Riigikogu Committee of Investigation to Ascertain the Reasons for the Sinking of the Ferry Estonia and the Related Circumstances (84 OE), initiated by the Estonian Centre Party Faction. The result of voting: 49 votes in favour, 30 against.
At Question Time Prime Minister Andrus Ansip answered the questions about the flow of information, Estonia belonging among five most unequal states, safety of the civil population of Iraq and the state budget. Minister of the Interior Jüri Pihl answered the questions about the situation of rescues services and land transactions. Minister of Social Affairs Maret Maripuu answered the question about pension policy.
The verbatim record of the Riigikogu sitting (in Estonian) can be found at: http://www.riigikogu.ee/?op=steno
The Riigikogu Press Service
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