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At Question Time of the Riigikogu (Parliament of Estonia), Minister of Rural Affairs Urmas Kruuse replied to Artur Talvik's question about the situation of agriculture, Siret Kotka's question about the support for farmers and Arno Sild's question about the assessment of the activities of the Veterinary and Food Board in preventing the spread of African swine fever.

Artur Talvik was concerned that the farmers have to find their way in an immense jungle of regulations. New rural development plan provided for the establishing of a consultation centre, but in the opinion of the MP, the centre does not meet the obligations expected of it.

Kruuse admitted that there were problems. “Strategically, the future role of this centre is extremely important. When we launch a new system, we can never say there will be absolutely no difficulties. Certainly there may be inconveniences also in the present situation. The state has made a choice, it has allocated money to a foundation in which the employing of people and developing of a system take place,” Kruuse said. In his opinion, experience has very clearly shown one thing: the more possibilities there have been for giving advice specifically to farmers, including advice on preparing of applications, the higher the quality of applications has been and the better they have been, and the easier it has been for the Estonian Agricultural Registers and Information Board to process and finance them.

Marika Tuus-Laul was not satisfied with paying the transitional aid to farmers. Kruuse fended off the reproaches that the Government had not been attentive enough to the voice of the farmers. According to him, there is a concrete plan on how to help the farmers and bring relief to this sector. “It is connected with at least two important things. The first part concerns our long negotiations at the European Union level in order to get extraordinary aid, which we actually achieved in cooperation with other Baltic States,” Kruuse explained. He noted that, in terms of its production potential and its size, Estonia got the best support, which is 7.56 million euro. “The state at once extraordinarily added exactly the same sum to it, and by the end of this year, intends to make extraordinary payments in the amount of 10.56 million euro,” Kruuse said. Besides that, the measures of the investment to biosafety requirement were quickly redesigned for pig farming. A little more than 6 million euro was used for that. Regarding the second part, which concerns the European market generally and also our dairy sector, it can be said that in comparison to September of the last year, our milk production has increased by 1.7 percent.

Kruuse said that both the Estonian Agricultural Registers and Information Board and the state have made additional efforts to enable to paying or at least starting to pay the additional direct support to the farmers in December.

Minister of Health and Labour Jevgeni Ossinovski, in the capacity of the Prime Minster, replied to the question about private schools and their financing, asked by Krista Aru, the question on the political responsibility of a member of the Government, asked by Kadri Simson, the question about the influence of Oleg Ossinovski on the politics of the Social Democratic Party, asked by Martin Helme, and the question about the sustainability of health care, asked by Marika Tuus-Laul.

Minister of the Interior Hanno Pevkur replied to Jaak Madisson‘s question about the future of the European Union in the light of the immigration crisis, and Ain Lutsepp‘s question about the situation in the Police and Border Guard Board.

Video recordings can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/riigikogu.

(Please note that the recording will be uploaded with a delay.)

Riigikogu Press Service

Gunnar Paal, +372 631 6351, +372 51 90 2837

[email protected]