The Riigikogu approved with 62 votes in favour (13 against, 6 abstentions) the Resolution of the Riigikogu “Formation of the Riigikogu Study Committee to Solve the Demographic Crisis” (367 OE), submitted by the Estonian Centre Party Faction, the Social Democratic Party Faction and the Pro Patria and Res Publica Union Faction.
According to the Resolution, the study committee is charged with the task of examining the current state of Estonia’s fundamentals of national policies, sectoral development plans, development plans for areas of government and programmes relating to population, and to make proposals to improve the situation.
The tasks of the Committee will also include the examining of the population policies and experiences of other countries, and making proposals to amend our policies on the basis of that.
The initiators of the Resolutions note in the explanatory memorandum that after the restoration of independence, the population of Estonia has constantly decreased, and the purpose of the Committee is to find the problems and to look for solutions to change the situation. The initiators point out low birth rate and large emigration as the main problems.
The six-member Committee includes one member from each faction of the Riigikogu. Yoko Alender, Monika Haukanõmm, Siret Kotka, Heljo Pikhof, Raivo Põldaru and Helir-Valdor Seeder are members of the Committee. The mandate of the Committee lasts until the termination of the mandate of this Riigikogu.
Member of the Free Party Faction Jüri Adams, who took the floor in the debate, drew attention to a point. “It is not reasonable to take the path of forming new committees in the Riigikogu in principle in unlimited numbers.”
The Riigikogu approved with 62 votes in favour (12 against, 3 abstentions) the Resolution of the Riigikogu “Formation of the Riigikogu Study Committee to Draw Up the Development Objectives for the State Reform” (368 OE), submitted by the Social Democratic Party Faction, the Estonian Centre Party Faction, and the Pro Patria and Res Publica Union Faction.
According to the Resolution, the state reform is viewed in terms of the reorganisation of public authority, and public authority includes both the central government as well as local governments.
The task of the Committee is to follow and analyse the implementation of the administrative reform and the reorganisation of regional administration and the achievement of the goals set therefor; to make proposals to reorganise public authority and to review the functions and tasks performed by public authority; and to assess the impact and sustainability of the activities carried out to achieve the aim of reorganisation of public authority.
According to the explanatory memorandum of the Resolution, the state reform is needed because the Estonian state must achieve increasingly better results with limited resources. “The need for the state reform has been talked of for years already. There are a number of reasons for carrying out the changes; mainly the decreasing population, increasing need for labour, and constantly broadening regional disparities,” the explanatory memorandum notes.
The six-member Committee includes one member from each faction of the Riigikogu. Arto Aas, Helmut Hallemaa, Aivar Kokk, Külliki Kübarsepp, Ivari Padar, and Arno Sild are members of the Committee. The mandate of the Committee lasts until the termination of the mandate of this Riigikogu.
Two Bills passed the first reading:
The Bill on the Ratification of the Agreement between the Republic of Estonia and the Republic of India on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons (375 SE), initiated by the Government, provides for the ratification of the agreement between Estonia and India on the transfer of sentenced persons. The purpose of the Agreement is to give persons the opportunity to serve their sentences in their own society. The Agreement can be applied only in the case when the sentenced person, as well as both countries have agreed to the conditions for transfer. Either of the contracting States may grant pardon, amnesty or commutation of the sentence in accordance with its constitution or other laws.
During the debate, Marianne Mikko from the Social Democratic Party Faction and Henn Põlluaas from the Estonian Conservative People’s Party Faction took the floor.
The Bill on Amendments to § 20 of the Nature Conservation Act (373 SE), initiated by the Environment Committee, will bring § 20 of the Nature Conservation Act into conformity with the Constitution. The aim is to alleviate the situation of land owners in the cases where they have privatised their land from the state by payment in instalments, and later the state has imposed intensive nature conservation restrictions on their lands. The Bill endorses the proposal of the Chancellor of Justice to bring § 20 of the Nature Conservation Act into conformity with the Constitution.
Külliki Kübarsepp from the Free Party Faction took the floor during the debate.
Verbatim record of the sitting (in Estonian) http://stenogrammid.riigikogu.ee/et/201702141000
Video recordings of the sittings of the Riigikogu can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/riigikogu (NB! The recording will be uploaded with a delay.)