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At the sitting of the plenary assembly on Tuesday, the Riigikogu received an overview of the activities of the Government in implementing the European Union (EU) policies. Reports were by Prime Minister Andrus Ansip and Chairman of the European Union Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu Arto Aas.

The Prime Minister said that, as Estonia sees its first decade as a member of the European Union, we now have more opportunities for realising our interests than ever before.

In his words, the Government has therefore given the advisory role to officials from Riigikogu’s EU Affairs Committee, the Office of the Chancellor of Justice, the Bank of Estonia and also from the National Audit Office at the meetings of the Government´s Coordination Council of EU Affairs. „I am not aware of any other Member State having such tight collaboration between state institutions in matters related to the EU. The development plan of legislative drafting up to 2018 that has been approved by the Riigikogu foresees the handling of Estonia’s positions regarding drafts of EU legal acts as if they were laws of Estonia,“ Ansip added.

In Ansip’s words, the Riigikogu’s EU Affairs Committee has risen to the occasion and shown good judgement.

„In five years’ time, on our centenary year, Estonia will hold the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. This means that, for the first time, Estonia will be responsible for the operations of a legislative body of the EU. There is no doubt that Estonia will do a good job, being a trusted and innovative partner that also provides digital solutions,“ Ansip said.

Chairman of the European Union Affairs Committee Arto Aas said that the role of the Estonian parliament in shaping the policies of the European Union is greater than the role of the parliaments of most of other Member States. Arto Aas said that the European Union affairs are not foreign policy and the events in Brussels influence the people of Estonia as directly as the decisions made by the Riigikogu.

„Both today and in the future we should concentrate more on what is the role of the European Union in the world, and be less worried about whether we are known in Brussels. We are known there,“ Aas said. In his report, Aas highlighted trade negotiations of the EU with the great powers of the world economy – the USA, Canada, Japan – as an important trend. Negotiations with China are also about to start, in order to create equal conditions both for the access of investments to the market and for protecting them.

In conclusion, Arto Aas asked the members of the Riigikogu to be demanding and attentive about the emergence of new EU legislative initiatives, additional regulations and strange-sounding words. „Did you know that there are 34,000 legislative acts in force in the European Union? Did you know that each year about 1000 legislative acts are added to them? This is frightening. The European Union must not become just a playground for bureaucrats, lawyers and interpreters, there should also be room for an ordinary citizen,“ Aas said.

Marianne Mikko, Urve Tiidus, Mart Nutt and Jüri Ratas took part in the debate.

The Draft Resolution of the Riigikogu “Appointment of a Member of the Supervisory Board of the Estonian Development Fund” (510 OE) was adjourned due to the end of the working hours and the deliberation of the drafts that were on the agenda on Tuesday will continue on Wednesday.

The verbatim record of the sitting (in Estonian)


The Riigikogu Press Service