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Prime Minister Andrus Ansip replied to the interpellation concerning the supports system of the Estonian state (No 126), submitted by members of the Estonian Centre Party Faction on 26 January. 

Ansip explained that the coalition had not made a decision to change the current system of social benefits. “However, I continue to be of the opinion that the system of universal benefits is ineffective. Granting of social and family benefits on the basis of needs would be much more efficient,” said he. 

The Prime Minister noted that a democratic state has an obligation to support those who actually need help. “In a democratic state, social benefits need not be granted in tiny crumbs, taking care that everybody receives an equal share. Needy families need greater support,” stressed the Prime Minister. Ansip confirmed that there were no plans to change the procedure for paying parental benefit. “And the current procedure for paying parental benefit is certainly not unconstitutional. Quite a number of other payments, like benefits for days of sick leave, the amount of the insurance component of pensions, and the like, are in a proportional relationship with previous employment. The parents who receive a higher parental benefit have in their turn given a larger contribution as taxpayers. It is not the Prime Minister who increases the limit of parental benefit – it is determined by an Act,” said Ansip. 

In Ansip’s words, increasing of child benefit starting from the third child would significantly improve the subsistence of families with many children. It will be possible to increase the benefit when the necessary financial resources will become available, for example, by discarding the universal benefits system and switching to needs based benefits. 

Ansip replied to ten other interpellations submitted by members of the Estonian Centre Party Faction, concerning the problems of the e-health information system (No 128), pension funds (No 131), the legislative process of coalition politicians (No 143), reduction of salaries in public sector (No 176), implementation of the military defence development plan for 2009–2018 (No 182), devaluation of the Estonian kroon (No 251), the health of the Estonian population (No 255), SMS-loans (No 257), distribution of the profit of public enterprises (No 258) and the state supplementary budget of 2009 (No 259). 

The Minister of Education and Research Tõnis Lukas replied to four interpellations submitted by members of the Estonian Centre Party Faction, concerning post-crisis competitiveness (No 161) and amendments to the Basic Schools and Upper Secondary Schools Act (No 151, No 159 and No 161). 

President of Eesti Pank Andres Lipstok replied to the interpellation concerning the functions of Eesti Pank (No 132), submitted by members of the Estonian People’s Union. 

The sitting ended at 7.57 p.m.

The Riigikogu Press Service