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First, Prime Minister Andrus Ansip replied to the interpellation concerning the Victory Monument to the War of Independence (No 79), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Kadri Simson, Jüri Ratas, Lauri Laasi, Toomas Varek, Ain Seppik, Vilja Savisaar and Mailis Reps on 9 September. 

Prime Minister explained that, according to the authors of the conceptual design, it had became clear after consultation with experts that dolomite was not the most durable and high-quality material. The committee which evaluated the conceptual designs submitted to the design contest of the Victory Monument of the War of Independence also pointed out the poor weather resistance of dolomite as a drawback of the winning design. The authors of the conceptual design saw glass as an alternative which, as you know, won public approval immediately. Ansip noted that public opinion on the building of the Victory Monument of the War of Independence had not changed: “Two thirds support the building of the monument and support the conceptual design, and one third are not happy with it. The proportion has remained such through all these discussions.” 

The Minister of Regional Affairs Siim Valmar Kiisler replied to the interpellation concerning weakening of public transport (No 83), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Kalle Laanet, Ain Seppik, Vilja Savisaar, Arvo Sarapuu, Mailis Reps and Jaak Aab on 17 September. In his answer, Kiisler explained the general problems related to the reorganisation of public transport: “The Public Transport Act defines local government bodies and county governments as the chief agencies which plan and organise public transport. Local government bodies are required to organise public transport within their administrative territory which is done, if necessary, in cooperation by mutual agreement of local governments and by agreement with the county government.” Public transport is not a system that remains unchanged in time. As the need and demand for public transport services are constantly changing, then it is inevitable that the route network must also be adjusted accordingly. “It is when the system is changed that problems generally arise – changes are always difficult to accept. However, the effects of those changes can be softened if the changes are introduced with a comprehensive information campaign,” noted the Minister of Regional Affairs. Kiisler gave an overview of changes in the organisation of public transport all over Estonia. “The number of line kilometres covered on county bus lines is expected to decrease by a total of more than 900 000 line kilometres in 2008, as compared to the year 2007, in eight counties. In seven counties, the number of line kilometres will increase by 300 000 line kilometres in total, part of which is due to replacing of trains on long-distance lines. This makes a total expected decrease of about 1.9 per cent in 2008. During budget debates we achieved together with the Minister of Economic Affairs and Communications that in 2009 supports will grow to amount to 339 millions, or by 26 per cent as compared to the year 2008 which is one of the weightiest regional policy decisions in this budget. The actual possibilities will mostly depend on how much the wages of bus drivers and fuel prices will change,” explained the Minister of Regional Affairs. 

The Minister of Agriculture Helir-Valdor Seeder replied to the interpellation concerning the suspicion of bribery concerning former Adviser of the Ministry of Agriculture (No 84), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Jaanus Marrandi, Karel Rüütli, Ester Tuiksoo, Tarmo Mänd and Villu Reiljan on 17 September. 

The Minister of Social Affairs Maret Maripuu replied to the interpellation concerning the working and rest time of locomotive crews (No 85), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Jaak Aab, Kalle Laanet, Valeri Korb, Tiit Kuusmik, Vilja Saisaar, Aivar Riisalu, Helle Kalda, Arvo Sarapuu, Rein Ratas and Aadu Must on 18 September. 

The Minister of Internal Affairs Jüri Pihl replied to the interpellation concerning the visa regime of the residents of frontier region in Schengen visa area (No 82), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Inara Luigas, Eldar Efendijev, Valeri Korb, Heimar Lenk and Tiit Kuusmik on 17 September, and the interpellation concerning emergency preparedness (No 90), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Valdur Lahtvee, Marek Strandberg, Aleksei Lotman, Mart Jüssi, Maret Merisaar and Toomas Trapido on 25 September. 

The Minister of Economic Affairs and Communications Juhan Parts replied to the interpellation concerning the future of county bus lines (No 87), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Karel Rüütli, Ester Tuiksoo, Tarmo Mänd and Mai Treial on 22 September, and the interpellation concerning development of economy at the expense of living environment (No 89), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Valdur Lahtvee, Marek Strandberg, Aleksei Lotman, Mart Jüssi, Maret Merisaar and Toomas Trapido on 25 September. 

The Riigikogu Press Service


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