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Prime Minister Andrus Ansip replied to the interpellation concerning loan restrictions of local governments (No 77), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Kadri Simson, Deniss Boroditš, Lauri Laasi, Priit Toobal, Viktor Vassiljev, Mailis Reps and Marika Tuus-Laul on 5 December. 

The interpellators wished to hear explanations concerning the facts relating to the loan restrictions of Rõngu municipality. 

The Prime Minister explained that loan restrictions of local governments are common in Europe and it is a great exception if there are no restrictions. He stressed that, as the Ministry of Finance is usually responsible for the balance of the government sector, then the Ministry has been given the levers for ensuring the balance of the government sector. Ansip noted that, in very many countries, loan restrictions have been established for local governments, as well as the requirement that local governments may use their earlier accumulated reserves only with the permission of the Ministry of Finance. 

Ansip said that, as of 1 March 2009, a temporary restriction on the assumption of debt obligations for local governments had entered into force which had allowed to assume obligations only for covering the cost-sharing of foreign aid projects. The restriction had ended on 31 December 2011. The aim of the amendments had been to limit the total deficit of local governments and to manage potential financial risks. In the Prime Minister’s opinion, this restriction should be regarded not only in terms of the financial autonomy of local governments, but in terms of the whole state’s finances. Ansip underlined that, in spring 2009, the economy had been in downturn three quarters in a row, and all parties of the public sector had had to reduce costs solidarily in order to ensure the financial sustainability of the state. He noted that the Ministry of Finance had warned the municipality mayor of Rõngu in a letter of 30 June 2009 that an impermissible obligation would be assumed with the conclusion of the planned agreement because it would not be used for covering the cost-sharing of any foreign aid project. In spite of the warning, on 16 July 2009, the municipality mayor had entered into the financial lease agreement for renovation of the school. Under the Directive of the Minister of Finance of 11 November of the same year, the transfers of the income tax and the funds of the equalisation fund of the municipality had been withheld. The municipality government had filed an action against that with the court. In the procedure of provisional legal protection, the court had decided to reduce the extent of the withholding of funds to 5% from the initial 20%, for six months, and after the end of that period, the withholding in the extent of 5% had continued. On the initiative of Rõngu municipality leaders, consultations for conclusion of a compromise agreement had been started in order to end the court dispute. The compromise agreement had become possible because the municipality had agreed that the funds which until then had been withheld to the extent of 5% would be used for payment of the obligation assumed by way of violation, ahead of the payment schedule. In addition to that, the municipality was going to contribute additional 10 000 euro annually for the same purpose in 2012‒2018. 

Ansip noted that the compromise agreement with Rõngu municipality had ensured achievement of the aim set by the Directive of the Minister of Finance and had been first of all in the interests of children. 

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

the interpellation concerning trafficking in residence permits (No 78), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Andres Anvelt, Neeme Suur, Kalev Kotkas, Jaan Õunapuu, Rannar Vassiljev, Marianne Mikko, Karel Rüütli, Indrek Saar, Helmen Kütt, Mart Meri, Heljo Pikhof, Urve Palo, Jevgeni Ossinovski, Eiki Nestor, Kajar Lember and Kalvi Kõva on 5 December; 

the interpellation concerning the Schengen Area (No 79), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Mailis Reps, Kalle Laanet, Kalev Kallo, Deniss Boroditš, Heimar Lenk, Marika Tuus-Laul, Viktor Vassiljev, Valeri Korb, Tarmo Tamm, Lembit Kaljuvee, Priit Toobal, Jüri Ratas, Enn Eesmaa, Inara Luigas and Vladimir Velman on 5 December; 

the interpellation concerning the institution of the Gender Equality and Equal Treatment Commissioner (No 82), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Yana Toom, Eldar Efendijev, Mihhail Stalnuhhin, Valeri Korb, Vladimir Velman, Deniss Boroditš, Olga Sõtnik, Andres Anvelt, Jaak Allik, Jevgeni Ossinovski, Marianne Mikko and Helmen Kütt on 7 December; 

the interpellation concerning the programme “A Place in Kindergarten for Every Child” (No 83), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Yana Toom, Viktor Vassiljev, Priit Toobal, Olga Sõtnik, Eldar Efendijev, Tarmo Tamm, Peeter Võsa, Vladimir Velman, Deniss Boroditš, Valeri Korb, Lembit Kaljuvee, Mihhail Stalnuhhin, Mailis Reps and Ester Tuiksoo on 8 December; 

the interpellation concerning the solution of economic and social problems in Ida-Virumaa (No 89), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Jaak Allik, Urve Palo, Jaan Õunapuu, Rannar Vassiljev, Indrek Saar, Heljo Pikhof, Karel Rüütli, Sven Mikser, Kalev Kotkas, Andres Anvelt, Neeme Suur and Kajar Lember on 10 January. 

The Minister of Economic Affairs and Communications Juhan Parts replied to the interpellation concerning the supply security of power system in Estonia (No 88), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Lembit Kaljuvee, Valeri Korb, Deniss Boroditš, Vladimir Velman, Inara Luigas, Lauri Laasi, Eldar Efendijev, Viktor Vassiljev, Kadri Simson, Aivar Riisalu and Rainer Vakra on 9 January. 

The Minister of Justice Kristen Michal replied to the interpellation concerning agreements of the State Forest Management Centre with the non-profit association “Metsasõbrad” [“Sports Club for Friends of the Forest”] (No 90), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Tarmo Tamm, Peeter Võsa, Lauri Laasi, Vladimir Velman, Mihhail Stalnuhhin, Kadri Simson, Mailis Reps, Ester Tuiksoo, Viktor Vassiljev, Aadu Must and Kalev Kallo on 11 January. 

The Minister of Social Affairs Hanno Pevkur replied to four interpellations. They were the following: 

the interpellation concerning the Gender Equality Council (No 81), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Mailis Reps, Kalle Laanet, Valeri Korb, Ester Tuiksoo, Lauri Laasi, Viktor Vassiljev, Mihhail Stalnuhhin, Inara Luigas, Yana Toom, Deniss Boroditš, Marika Tuus-Laul, Olga Sõtnik, Eldar Efendijev, Enn Eesmaa and Kadri Simson on 7 December; 

the interpellation concerning the subsistence of families with children (No 84), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Marika Tuus-Laul, Kalev Kallo, Viktor Vassiljev, Lauri Laasi, Aadu Must, Heimar Lenk and Valeri Korb on 13 December; 

the interpellation concerning compliance with § 52 of the Health Care Services Organisation Act (No 86), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Marika Tuus-Laul, Lauri Laasi, Viktor Vassiljev, Deniss Boroditš and Kadri Simson on 15 December; 

the interpellation concerning an internal audit of the Ministry of Social Affairs (No 99), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Marika Tuus-Laul, Inara Luigas, Kalle Laanet, Rainer Vakra, Kalev Kallo and Viktor Vassiljev on 24 January. 

The sitting ended at 7.52 p.m. 

The Riigikogu Press Service

 

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