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Prime Minister Andrus Ansip replied to the interpellation concerning closure of post offices (No 69), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Heimar Lenk, Ester Tuiksoo and Tarmo Tamm on 21 November. 

In Ansip’s words, the minimum requirements for the location of post offices and the availability of services have been approved by a Regulation of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications. It is the function of the Competition Authority to monitor that closure of post offices does not worsen the availability of the universal postal service, and that the requirements for the provision of services by the state are met. As the Prime Minister explained, Estonian Post has to guarantee the existence of at least one post office in every rural municipality and the postal service once a day six times a week for every resident of a rural municipality. In rural areas, the larger share of the turnover of post offices is comprised of the sale of goods and post bank services. The demand for mail and parcel services is very small. 

Ansip mentioned the example of Ruusmäe and Koiküla post offices where the volume of activities performed on the average during one month was rather small. In his words, this leads to the conclusion that the main reason for closing post offices by Estonian Post is that the service is little used in these offices. If only a few customers visit a post office in one day then it is economically more expedient to offer the same services in some other way. 

The Prime Minister admitted that Estonian Post incurs a significant loss with the provision of the universal postal service. At the same time, he found that the provision of the universal postal service does not have to be always profitable. In Ansip’s words, reasonable economic expediency has to be kept in mind. The Prime Minister explained that the access of residents to the universal postal service has not worsened in regions where post offices have been closed down, because Estonian Post has to provide the universal postal service in the residence or location of the person to persons who live at a distance of more than five kilometres from the nearest post office in a rural area, and this is what Estonian Post is doing. Ansip stressed that, moreover, calling a worker of Estonian Post is free of charge and only the universal postal service consumed must be paid for. The universal postal service provided by motored carriage is equal to that provided at a post office, and a person need not incur any costs on transport to get to the post office because he or she receives the service at his or her place of residence or location. 

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

the interpellation concerning the trade balance of Estonia (No 71), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Mihhail Stalnuhhin, Lembit Kaljuvee, Valeri Korb, Vladimir Velman, Peeter Võsa, Inara Luigas, Kalev Kallo, Viktor Vassiljev and Yana Toom on 23 November; 

the interpellation concerning narrowing of the functions of county governors (No 72), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Priit Toobal, Enn Eesmaa, Inara Luigas, Peeter Võsa, Lauri Laasi, Vladimir Velman, Valeri Korb, Lembit Kaljuvee, Marika Tuus-Laul, Mailis Reps, Kadri Simson, Viktor Vassiljev and Ester Tuiksoo on 23 November; 

the interpellation concerning the school reform and involvement of interest groups (No 73), submitted by Member of the Riigikogu Heimar Lenk on 24 November. 

The Riigikogu Press Service