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The Minister of Agriculture Helir-Valdor Seeder replied to the interpellation concerning the non-transparent use of the support funds of the Estonian Agricultural Registers and Information Board (No 105), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Aivar Riisalu, Deniss Boroditš, Ester Tuiksoo, Inara Luigas, Lauri Laasi, Lembit Kaljuvee, Mihhail Stalnuhhin, Priit Toobal, Tarmo Tamm, Valeri Korb, Viktor Vassiljev and Vladimir Velman on 7 February. 

The interpellators wished to know the Minister’s position on the problems relating to Aardla polder. 

According to Seeder’s explanations, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Estonian Agricultural Registers and Information Board (ARIB) and the Agricultural Board have been engaged with the issues relating to the support given to Aardla Land Improvement Association for years already. In this case, the reasons for the refusal to pay supports and reclamation of the support paid earlier had initially been ascertained by Tartu Land Improvement Bureau, Tartu Centre of the Agricultural Board and the Land Improvement Bureau of Supervision and Expertise (now the Land Improvement Department of the Agricultural Board). So this problem was addressed by specialists and not the persons who spoke in the Estonian TV programme “Pealtnägija” [“Eyewitness”], as may have been understood from the programme. These administrative authorities had checked documents and the investments realised before the payment of the third part of the support in September 2009 and had discovered the problems. The Ministry of Agriculture is of the opinion that the activities of the ARIB in the processing of applications, monitoring of investments and payment of supports are sufficiently transparent. The ARIB has the right to carry out supervision proceedings and to perform the necessary checks constantly, provided that they are relevant with regard to the applicant, reasoned and proportional to the conditions for receiving the support. 

Seeder noted that, in July the previous year, the European Anti-fraud Office (OLAF) had also initiated proceedings with regard to the activities of Aardla Land Improvement Association and had also checked all facts in the ARIB on the spot. On 27 January this year, the OLAF had sent its position that, in consideration of all facts and the information known to the OLAF, the Estonian authorities had behaved correctly and legitimately in this case and therefore the OLAF would not take additional measures and the assessment of the case would be terminated. Seeder noted that an extraordinary audit had been initiated in the ARIB in connection with the case of Aardla Land Improvement Association. Auditors are of the opinion that the activities of the ARIB essentially conform to legislation and prescribed procedures. 

Seeder said that, in the course of the EU certification audit, the transactions carried out within the framework of the relevant measure had also been assessed, among other things, and so far no deficiencies have been ascertained within the framework of this measure. He informed that, in the debt register of the ARIB, the debts exceeding 100 euro amount to a total of 2.8 million euro and it includes 176 debtors. One person may have several debts and therefore the number of cases is larger. Since 2004, when Estonia acceded to the European Union, more than 1.49 billion European supports have been paid through the ARIB. So the proportion of debts is not large in comparison to the amount paid. Problematic projects account for circa 0.2% of all payments. When compared to other similar agencies both in Europe and in Estonia, it is the best result. Seeder confirmed that the collection of debts in the event of violations related to supports is consistent and shows the efficiency rather than the weakness of the control system of the ARIB. 

The Minister of Culture Rein Lang replied to the interpellation concerning the amount of state support for acquisition of documents (No 92), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Deniss Boroditš, Eldar Efendijev, Mailis Reps, Mihhail Stalnuhhin, Peeter Võsa, Viktor Vassiljev, Vladimir Velman and Yana Toom on 17 January. 

The Minister of Regional Affairs Siim Valmar Kiisler replied to the interpellation concerning the use of European Union funds (No 106), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Aadu Must, Eldar Efendijev, Enn Eesmaa, Ester Tuiksoo, Inara Luigas, Kalev Kallo, Mailis Reps, Marika Tuus-Laul, Mihhail Stalnuhhin, Tarmo Tamm, Valeri Korb, Viktor Vassiljev and Yana Toom on 7 February. 

The Minister of Internal Affairs Ken-Marti Vaher replied to two interpellations. They were the following: 

the interpellation concerning closing of Leisi rescue commando (No 97), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Aivar Riisalu, Kadri Simson, Kalle Laanet, Lauri Laasi, Lembit Kaljuvee, Rainer Vakra, Tarmo Tamm and Vladimir Velman on 19 January, and the interpellation concerning closing of Palamuse rescue commando (No 104), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Aadu Must, Aivar Riisalu, Deniss Boroditš, Inara Luigas, Jüri Ratas, Mailis Reps, Marika Tuus-Laul, Priit Toobal, Rainer Vakra, Tarmo Tamm, Viktor Vassiljev and Yana Toom on 6 February. 

Due to the illness of the Minister of Defence Mart Laar, the interpellation to the Minister of Defence concerning the health requirements set for conscripts (No 100), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Deniss Boroditš, Enn Eesmaa, Inara Luigas, Lembit Kaljuvee, Mihhail Stalnuhhin, Priit Toobal, Valeri Korb, Viktor Vassiljev and Yana Toom on 25 January, was removed from the agenda for the working week. 

On the motion of the Government as the initiator, the first reading of three Bills was excluded from the agenda for Wednesday’s sitting. They were the following: the Defence Forces Service Bill (172 SE), the Defence Forces Service Act Implementation Bill (173 SE) and the Bill on Amendments to Acts passed with Majority Vote of Riigikogu related to the Defence Forces Service Act (174 SE). 

During the open microphone, Mihhail Stalnuhhin took the floor. 

The sitting ended at 6.12 p.m.

The Riigikogu Press Service

 

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