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Prime Minister Andrus Ansip presented a political overview before the Riigikogu in connection with the submission of the coming year’s state budget Bill. 

In the Prime Minister’s words, when planning the next year’s budget, the Government has taken into account the impacts of the global financial crisis as well as the firm knowledge that one cannot live at the expense of the future. With the coming year’s state budget, the government sector structural surplus is planned to amount to 0.1% of the gross domestic product. The budget has been prepared with a 0.7% nominal deficit. Starting from the year after the next year, the Government is planning a constant nominal surplus according to the budget strategy. The revenue of the next year’s state budget is planned to amount to 7.5 billion euro and the expenditure will be 7.7 billion euro. In comparison to 2012, the expenditure will grow by 1.1 per cent. 

Ansip stressed that the budget which had just been submitted was optimistic but had been planned responsibly and taking into account the possibilities of the state. “In spite of the fact that we are doing quite well in comparison with many others, the insecurity in the world economy does not allow to increase the state budget expenditure at a quicker pace,” the Prime Minister explained. He emphasised that the conservative budget policy has brought success to Estonia so far and it ensures our competitiveness also in the rapidly changing economic climate. 

Kadri Simson, Kaia Iva and Eiki Nestor took the floor in this issue. 

The Riigikogu heard the report of the Minister of Justice Kristen Michal on the implementation of “Development Objectives of Legal Policy until 2018”

Michal noted that the Ministers of Justice have presented reports to the Riigikogu for years already, to give an overview of the implementation of the development objectives of criminal policy. In his opinion, that has been a valuable platform on the basis of which the Riigikogu has been able to hold a political debate on an issue which is of importance to the people. “The criminal policy and the development objectives thereof are without doubt an extremely weighty part but still only one part of the whole legislative drafting. This means that a large part of our legal order has not been discussed integrally before the parliament. This gap has been needing to be filled and I am doing it now according to the wish of the previous composition of the Riigikogu,” the Minister added. Today is the first time that the Minister of Justice presents a report on the implementation of the development objectives of legal policy. 

Michal explained that the development objectives provide us a high-quality standard of legislative drafting which so far have had to be derived from numerous legislative acts and administrative practice. “The standard existed by default; it both was and somehow was not there. We had no single and clear source document. We now have got it and a common understanding and consensus can be built around it,” the Minister of Justice confirmed. 

The development objectives of legal policy cover issues which have been recognised as important in terms of achieving a competitive legal environment by the OECD and the European Union. Extensive involvement, legislative drafting which is aware of and takes into account the impacts, and an analysis of implementation practice – these are the keywords without which modern legislative drafting cannot be imagined. In the European Union, they no longer talk of “better” but “intelligent” legislative drafting. Increasingly more attention is paid to how the content of a legislative act is formed. The focus is on structuring the legislative drafting process so that it would help create high-quality content. It is also the target of our development objectives of legal policy to shape intelligent legislative drafting. “It is in this interest that the Government has made weighty decisions in 2011 and 2012 for the implementation of the principles of good legislative drafting in the organisation of legislative drafting: new rules of good legislative drafting have been established with the emphasis on good legislative drafting, good involvement practice has been updated, and at present the Government is discussing an impact assessment methodology. The implementation of the content of these documents will improve the quality of legislative drafting. It must not be forgotten however that approving the principles of good legislative drafting means no more than a good starting point,” the Minister gave an overview of what had been done. 

Michal explained that translations of Acts will also be included in the updated Riigi Teataja. In official administration, only the legislative acts in Estonian published in the Riigi Teataja can be used but we have to be understandable also to the rest of the world,” he added. The aim is to translate the Estonian Acts into English and the translations are meant in particular for foreign investors and European Union partners. Up to now, of our circa 400 Acts which are in force, more than 150 relevant consolidated texts have been translated into English. By the end of 2012, more than half of the Acts will have been translated. All Estonian Acts will have to be translated by the end of 2014 and the translations will be kept up to date. “When we add to this that, starting from next year, all local governments will have to publish their Regulations together with updated consolidated texts in the Riigi Teataja, then at the end of the day it will be significantly easier for citizens to gain an integrated picture of the legal order of Estonia,” Michal noted. He explained that a uniform search system for all legislative drafts which are or have been in the legislative proceeding of the Riigikogu will be implemented in the Riigi Teataja. It will enable to find all stages of the legislative proceeding of a draft Act or Regulation together with materials starting from the public consultation on the proposal for the draft until the publication of the legislative act in the Riigi Teataja.  

Marko Pomerants, Neeme Suur and Väino Linde took the floor during the debate.  

The Riigikogu Press Service