Prime Minister Andrus Ansip replied to the interpellation concerning the problems of border crossing in South-East Estonia and Ida-Virumaa (No 119), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Inara Luigas, Ain Seppik, Enn Eesmaa, Nelli Privalova, Olga Sõtnik, Kalev Kallo, Toivo Tootsen, Arvo Sarapuu, Jaak Aab, Aadu Must, Rein Ratas, Evelyn Sepp, Vilja Savisaar, Heimar Lenk, Marika Tuus, Tiit Kuusmik, Lembit Kaljuvee, Valeri Korb, Helle Kalda, Kadri Simson, Lauri Laasi and Eldar Efendijev on 14 January.
The interpellators asked why the Government had to that day failed to start negotiations to enter into a bilateral agreement with the Russian Federation for the development of the procedure for local frontier traffic in border regions in connection with termination of the simplified visa regime on 19 January and what steps the Government had taken so far in resolving that issue.
Ansip explained that the Ministry of Internal Affairs had made written proposals for simplification of the procedure for issuing visas on 28 November 2008. Both the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of Internal Affairs had admitted that, in order to simplify the procedure for issuing visas, it was mainly necessary to change the national practice and Estonia had indeed simplified the current practice of issuing visas in pursuance of the Schengen law. Also, motions to amend the Aliens Act and other Acts have been made which aim to simplify the procedure for issuing visas. At present, a Bill on Amendments to the Aliens Act is being prepared in the Ministry of Internal Affairs which includes, among other things, proposals for simplification of the procedure for issuing visas which have been unanimously agreed upon. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has informed the Russian Federation, both in written form and orally, of the change of the current border crossing procedure and of transition to the regular visa regime but has at the same made a proposal to continue the practice of issuing visas similarly to the current procedure.
The Prime Minister referred to various bilateral talks with the Russian Federation which had given a basis to believe that Russia was ready to start negotiations to enter into a bilateral agreement. “At the same time, it is impossible to predict the course or success of the negotiations. We can speak of a readiness to sign a bilateral agreement only after a consensus has been reached on the wording of the agreement,” said Ansip.
According to Ansip, the procedure for crossing the border which was in force so far was sufficiently satisfactory for us. “We do not consider it necessary to start to actually develop negotiations on visa free border crossing at the moment,” noted the Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister also replied to the interpellation concerning corruption in local governments (No 123), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Kalev Kallo, Olga Sõtnik, Nelli Privalova, Enn Eesmaa, Inara Luigas, Lauri Laasi, Kadri Simson, Toivo Tootsen, Toomas Varek, Helle Kalda, Valeri Korb, Lembit Kaljuvee, Tiit Kuusmik, Heimar Lenk, Marika Tuus, Vilja Savisaar, Aadu Must, Ain Seppik and Evelyn Sepp on 19 January, and the interpellation concerning the situation in milk sector (No 125), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Arvo Sarapuu, Toomas Varek, Vilja Savisaar, Kalle Laanet, Lembit Kaljuvee, Toivo Tootsen, Aadu Must, Lauri Laasi, Tiit Kuusmik, Vladimir Velman and Enn Eesmaa on 20 January.
The Minister of Defence Jaak Aaviksoo replied to the interpellation concerning information leakage in the Ministry of Defence (No 117), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Lauri Laasi, Ain Seppik, Kadri Simson, Lembit Kaljuvee and Olga Sõtnik on 13 January.
The Minister of Social Affairs Maret Maripuu replied to the interpellation concerning home delivery of pensions (No 121), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Mai Treial, Villu Reiljan, Ester Tuiksoo, Tarmo Mänd, Karel Rüütli and Jaanus Marrandi on 15 January.
The Riigikogu Press Service
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