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Minister of Foreign Affairs Margus Tsahkna, Minister of Social Protection Signe Riisalo and Minister of Education and Research Kristina Kallas replied to interpellations in the Riigikogu.

Minister of Social Protection Signe Riisalo replied to the interpellation concerning the need to support families with many children  (No. 339), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Varro Vooglaid and Anti Poolamets.

The interpellators pointed out that supporting families with many children helped alleviate demographic challenges such as low birth rate and ageing population. If the state wishes to ensure a sufficient population size and a sustainable demographic balance, it is important to support families who wish and are able to raise more than two children.

Riisalo explained that having a child was a deeply personal decision for a family to make. Deeply personal decisions are of course linked to both economic livelihood and the availability and quality of public services but clearly also to sense of security.

“At the same time, we also know that the amount of family allowance is not what directly affects birth rate and that after family allowance increases by a certain amount, we can count on a certain number of children to be born,” Riisalo said.

“I am convinced that large families do need a greater contribution from the state and the role of the state is of major importance in supporting their livelihood. However, the question is always to what extent and at whose expense we can provide these supports,” the minister admitted. She referred to the current situation where social protection spending had increased by one per cent, education spending by one per cent and national defence spending as a ratio of GDP had increased as well. “The costs we are incurring at the expense of taxpayers’ money are growing in time but, due to an economic downturn, tax receipt has not been what we might have wished,” Riisalo noted. She explained that, according to the forecast published in the previous week, regrettably we would not be able to enjoy economic growth that year. The hope is that next year will be easier and it will be possible to contribute more to the development of social services and benefits as well.

“Of course, families living in poverty and poverty risk cause concern. A social survey carried out in 2016–2023 reveals that there is a greater poverty risk in families with fewer maintenance providers, that is, one and not two adult people who work. Thus, single parent families are most affected by relative poverty. 34.8% of them experience it. “Therefore, it is also important in family policy to make decisions that would support those at the highest risk of poverty. Compared to 2022, allowances for families with many children have increased by 150 euro in families with three to six children and by 250 euro in families with seven or more children. If we add to this the increase in the benefit for the first and second child, this increase is even higher. At the same time the single parent’s child allowance increased to 80 euro and this is also the resource they have to manage with,” the minister said.

Riisalo also replied to the interpellation concerning incitement of hatred against families with children (No. 612).

Minister of Foreign Affairs Margus Tsahkna replied to the interpellation concerning an interference with the internal affairs of Hungary (No. 570).

Minister of Education and Research Kristina Kallas replied to interpellations concerning uniform Estonian school (No. 544), the promises of a pay rise given to teachers (No. 580), school reform (No. 611), and curriculum subjects relating to human sexuality, and the rights of parents in that connection (No. 616).

Rain Epler took the floor during the open microphone.

The sitting ended at 8.20 p.m.

Verbatim record of the sitting (in Estonian) 

Video recordings of the sittings of the Riigikogu can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/riigikogu.

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Riigikogu Press Service
Gunnar Paal, +372 631 6351, +372 5190 2837
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