At today’s sitting, the Riigikogu discussed the motion of no confidence in the Minister of Rural Affairs Mart Järvik, which Kaja Kallas had submitted on behalf of 44 members of the Riigikogu. The motion of no confidence was not supported. 43 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour and 51 were against. The support of at least 51 members of the Riigikogu was needed to express no confidence.
When submitting the motion of no confidence, the Chairman of the Reform Party Faction Kaja Kallas said that, over the past five months, the minister had proved that he was not worthy to hold the office of member of Government. “With his activities, he has hampered the activities of the Veterinary and Food Board in ensuring food safety and has potentially jeopardised the health of people. He has lied publicly and he has prioritised private interests over national interests. All these are sufficient reasons to express no confidence in the Minister of Rural Affairs,” Kallas said.
The Minister of Rural Affairs Mart Järvik briefly explained that he had become involved in a scandal in connection with a conflict in the ministry. “It began because I wanted to initiate a food safety audit, and announced that I would do so. From then on, our cooperation with the Secretary General of the Ministry faltered. It was from then on that obstruction against me began, not only by him but also by some other officials. Now it has been eventually amplified through the media to the point where I am standing here, and maybe I will have the honour of being included in the list of the ministers who have had a motion of no confidence tabled against them,” Järvik said.
Thereafter the minister responded to numerous questions from members of the Riigikogu asking for more detailed information about his activities as the Minister of Rural Affairs. In his responses, Järvik fended off the accusations made against him and confirmed that he would not resign from his post.
During the debate, Ivari Padar (Social Democratic Party) and Kaja Kallas (Reform Party) took the floor on behalf of the factions.
The Bill harmonising the control over the agri-food chain in the EU passed the second reading
The Bill on Amendments to the Infectious Animal Disease Control Act, the State Fees Act, the Feed Act, the Food Act and the Veterinary Activities Organisation Act (90 SE), initiated by the Government, will bring the Act into conformity with a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council. The Bill will improve the enforcement of European Union agri-food chain legislation and the level of protection against risks to human, animal and plant health in Member States.
The aim is to establish a European Union framework to harmonise the organisation of official controls, and official activities other than official controls, along the entire agri-food chain. The principle arising from European Union law does not allow to duplicate the provisions of directly applicable legislation or to rewrite them in national law. Therefore, it is necessary to update or repeal several provisions of the Infectious Animal Disease Control Act, the Feed Act, the Food Act and the Veterinary Activities Organisation Act.
Among other things, the procedure for performing official controls on the transportation of feed of non-animal origin to Estonia from countries and territories that are outside the European Union customs territory will be amended. Imported feed of non-animal origin arriving in Estonia will no longer be subject to 100-per cent control at border control posts. Instead, the focus will be on the control of feeds that may pose a higher risk to animal and human health and to the environment. A significant amendment to the Feed Act is also the changing of the principles for financing of official controls and of other official activities. The current state fee paid for performing official controls will be replaced by the supervision fee charged for controls. Such a charging system takes into account the actual costs relating to controls and enables flexibility in the case of different types of establishments. Due to this amendment, the State Fees Act also needs amending.
Photos of the sitting (will be uploaded with a delay)
Video recordings of the sittings of the Riigikogu can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/riigikogu
(The recording will be uploaded with a delay.)