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Prime Minister Andrus Ansip replied to four interpellations at today’s sitting.

The 4 June interpellation of Jüri Ratas and Mailis Reps on the Programme for Increasing Kindergarten Capacity concerned the actions planned by the state to alleviate the inadequate kindergarten capacity.

The Prime Minister explained that actions taken by the state involve providing support to local governments who wish to establish new kindergartens or to expand the existing ones; the renovation of existing kindergartens by local governments is also supported, to avoid closing them down because of health protection and safety violations.

Subsection 4(1) of the Pre-school Child Care Institutions Act stipulates that Estonia’s pre-school child care institutions can either be in municipal or private ownership. Pursuant to § 154 of the Constitution, all local issues shall be resolved and managed by local governments, which operate independently according to the law. „The Government cannot dictate where and when local municipalities must start building kindergartens and cannot order legal persons in private law to construct new private kindergartens. Local governments and persons in private law are free in their actions in this respect,” Mr Ansip stated. „Next year, the state will allocate 150 million kroons for the construction of new kindergartens and the extension and massive renovation of the existing ones,” the Prime Minister said. The money will be provided on a project-by-project basis and it can be applied for by all local governments; however, the applicant must share at least 50 % of the total cost. The criteria in evaluating the projects include the need for increased kindergarten capacity as well as the regional principle. „Since the call for applications has not yet taken place, it is not yet possible to say where new kindergartens will be built next year with the support of the state. The application period will start in the near future,” Mr Ansip explained.

In her 6 June interpellation on the compensation of damages to the City of Tallinn, Olga Sõtnik wished to know when the Government intends to compensate for the damages caused to the City of Tallinn on April 26 and 27. The Prime Minister said that hundreds of thousands worth of damages have already been compensated to the City of Tallinn for justified claims. The bank transfers take place as the applications are being reviewed.

In their 13 August interpellation on the activities of the Minister of Justice Rein Lang, Members of the Riigikogu Karel Rüütli, Mai Treial, Villu Reiljan, Ester Tuiksoo and Tarmo Mänd expressed their opinion that the Minister of Justice Rein Lang has ventured into alcohol advertising by initiating the production and marketing of a new beer brand – Põhiseaduse Pilsner – and by advertising it openly. The interpellators wished to hear the opinion of the Prime Minister on the issue. The Prime Minister saw no justification for connecting the launch of the beer brand with Rein Lang since the relevant proposal was made by the round table preparing for the anniversary of the Constitution. Mr Ansip referred to alcoholic beverages which had previously been produced in Estonia as well as in other countries in honour of national holidays.

In their 13 August interpellation on the situation in Estonia’s transit sector, Members of the Riigikogu Jüri Ratas, Eldar Efendijev, Olga Sõtnik, Jaan Kundla, Vladimir Velman, Kalev Kallo, Ain Seppik, Aivar Riisalu, Mailis Reps, Evelyn Sepp, Marika Tuus, Heimar Lenk, Tiit Kuusmik, Nelli Privalova, Lembit Kaljuvee, Lauri Laas, Valeri Korb, Helle Kalda, Kadri Must and Enn Eesmaa wished to know about the stabilising measures implemented by the Government. Mr Ansip does not realistically foresee the restoration of the transit via Eesti Raudtee at the prior level. This is due to Russia’s general politico-economic trend which involves seeking out new possibilities for organising transit through Russia’s own harbours. In treating relations with Russia, the Prime Minister said that we should not let ourselves be subjected to business activities manipulated for political ends.

Liina Tõnisson spoke during the open microphone of her 15-year activities as a member of the Riigikogu and of her vision of the work of the Riigikogu. She thanked her voters for the trust they have invested in her.

The verbatim record of the Riigikogu sitting (in Estonian) can be found at: http://www.riigikogu.ee/?op=steno

The Riigikogu Press Service