The Minister of Regional Affairs Siim Valmar Kiisler replied to the interpellation concerning the international opinion of the situation of Estonian local governments (No 526), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Arvo Sarapuu, Jaak Aab, Toivo Tootsen, Jüri Ratas, Lauri Laasi, Vladimir Velman, Eldar Efendijev, Enn Eesmaa, Mailis Reps, Helle Kalda, Valeri Korb, Lembit Kaljuvee, Tiit Kuusmik, Kadri Simson and Nikolai Põdramägi on 27 October.
In Kiisler’s words, this study confirmed that the economic crisis had affected local governments all over Europe. The study also reveals the need of local governments to reduce governance costs, which coincides with the outcome of the analysis of the changes that have occurred in the revenues and expenditures and the financial situation of rural communities and towns indicated in the audit of the National Audit Office published in April this year. Saving of expenditure in local governments was achieved on account of investments rather than remunerations. Of different types of costs, for example, management costs diminished most in Estonia in 2009, by 18%, and expenses on investments diminished by 29%. The expenses related to local government staff diminished by merely 3% in 2009, in comparison to the same period last year. The decisions to save costs were made in local governments towards the end rather than the beginning of 2009 and budgets which were more in conformity with the reality did not appear before 2010, in most cases. The study generalises that local governments with less than 5000 residents are unable to ensure the performance of all functions efficiently and cost-economically but in local governments with less than 1000 residents the performance of a number of functions proves impossible or extremely cost-demanding.
In 2010, the estimated total budget of local governments will amount to about 20 billion and European Union supports constitute about 8.7% of the total budget of local governments. In the next year’s budget, the planned total budget of local governments is 20.8 billion kroons. There is a plan to support local governments with about 2.3 billion kroons which accounts for 11.36% of the local government budget. This shows that the proportion of European structural assistance has increased. At the same time, the amount of the total budget of local governments has remained more or less the same.
In Kiisler’s words, the revenue base of local governments is at the level of 2007 when the provision of services by local governments was not worse than in previous or later years.
Kiisler stressed that strong local governments are the foundation of the regional policy. “What we are doing in Estonia at present is mostly try to reduce differences between the successful and less successful through the equalisation fund and implementation of various measures.” In his words, there is a need to reopen the debate on how to support successful local governments and how to establish new successful local governments on the basis of the less successful ones.
The Minister of Regional Affairs also replied to the interpellation concerning the public procurements of document management software of local governments (No 544), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Jaan Õunapuu, Jaanus Marrandi, Jüri Tamm, Karel Rüütli, Kalev Kotkas, Sven Mikser, Kalvi Kõva, Eiki Nestor, Hannes Rumm and Indrek Saar on 24 November.
The Minister of Finance Jürgen Ligi replied to two interpellations. They were the following:
the interpellation concerning the changes of tax rates in the world (No 527), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Kadri Simson, Kalle Laanet, Lauri Laasi, Toomas Varek and Lembit Kaljuvee on 28 October;
the interpellation concerning euro calculators (No 538), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Helle Kalda, Toomas Varek, Aivar Riisalu, Lauri Laasi, Mailis Reps, Enn Eesmaa, Kalle Laanet, Eldar Efendijev, Nelli Privalova, Vladimir Velman, Olga Sõtnik, Kalev Kallo, Toivo Tootsen, Arvo Sarapuu, Nikolai Põdramägi, Evelyn Sepp, Ain Seppik and Valeri Korb on 17 November.
The Minister of Economic Affairs and Communications Juhan Parts replied to three interpellations of Members of the Riigikogu. They were the following:
the interpellation concerning the activities of the Road Administration in the delivery of notices of fine of private parking lots (No 529), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Toomas Varek, Aivar Riisalu, Kadri Simson, Tiit Kuusmik and Valeri Korb on 9 November;
the interpellation concerning the functioning of the Climate and Energy Agency (No 530), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Aivar Riisalu, Kadri Simson, Helle Kalda, Valeri Korb, Tiit Kuusmik and Nikolai Põdramägi on 9 November;
the interpellation concerning the alleged violation of competition rules by Eesti Energia Ltd (No 531), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Lembit Kaljuvee, Tiit Kuusmik, Toivo Tootsen, Nelli Privalova, Ain Seppik, Vladimir Velman, Jüri Ratas, Lauri Laasi, Helle Kalda, Toomas Varek, Georg Pelisaar, Mailis Reps, Inara Luigas, Eldar Efendijev, Arvo Sarapuu and Nikolai Põdramägi on 10 November.
During the open microphone, Lembit Kaljuvee, Tiit Kuusmik, Kalle Laanet and Rein Ratas took the floor.
The sitting ended at 6.33 p.m.
The Riigikogu Press Service