At today’s sitting of the Riigikogu, the Bill amending the State Budget for 2023 Act passed the second reading.
The Bill will amend the distribution of expenditure by activities included in programmes and the distribution of funds between expenditure and investments. According to the State Budget Act, the Government may initiate an amendment of the State Budget Act without amending the total amount of funds not later than two months before the end of the budgetary year.
Parliamentary groups and members of the Riigikogu had submitted 88 motions to amend the Bill for its second reading. In addition, the Finance Committee had moved a motion to amend consisting of several amendments and mostly specifying expenditure. The Riigikogu began to review the motions to amend the Bill at Wednesday’s sitting and continued it at Thursday’s sitting last week. 61 of 89 motions to amend were voted on by the end of Thursday’s sitting. The remaining 28 motions to amend were reviewed without voting and taking recesses at today’s sitting.
Motions to amend the Bill on Amendments to the State Budget for 2023 Act (303 SE), initiated by the Government, for the third reading can be submitted until 5.15 p.m. on 15 November.
The Riigikogu heard ministers’ replies to 12 interpellations
The Minister of the Interior Lauri Läänemets replied to the interpellation concerning the border infrastructure (No. 195), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Priit Sibul, Andres Metsoja, Aivar Kokk and Helir-Valdor Seeder. According to the Members of the Riigikogu, in the in the current security situation, no cuts in the investments in the development of border infrastructure can be afforded but it is necessary to speed up the construction of a control line. The Members of the Riigikogu asked what was planned to be done to strengthen the surveillance of the border in the Gulf of Finland and on Lake Peipus and in the air, besides land border.
Läänemets said that, according to plans, the construction of the Estonian-Russian land border was expected to be completed by the end of 2025. “The aim is to build border infrastructure consisting of a delay fence and patrol paths on land, as well as various monitoring masts that will be equipped with necessary guarding equipment in order to ensure full situational awareness of what is going on at the border,” the Minister of the Interior said. He pointed out that the Estonian-Russian border stretched 338 kilometres, 135 kilometres of which was south-eastern border (a third of it the River Piusa), 127 kilometres Lake Peipus and 76 kilometres the River Narva.
The 23.5-kilometre border infrastructure section north of Luhamaa border crossing point was already completed last year. According to the Minister, work is ongoing with the second phase, an approximately 40-kilometre section where border infrastructure is expected to be completed in the first half of 2025 but, at the rate it is progressing, it will be completed by the end of 2024. The construction of the delay fence for a 21-kilometre section will also be completed by the end of 2024, and the border infrastructure on the 26-kilometre section for a large part running along the bank of the River Piusa will be completed by the end of 2025. Another land border section is located on a marshy area and works have started there to install mobile guarding devices which will also be implemented during 2025, according to the minister.
When speaking of guarding the sea border and airspace, Läänemets said that the vessels of the Police and Border Guard Board and maritime surveillance positions had been transferred to the Defence Forces whose responsibility covered the guarding of both the sea border and airspace. According to the minister, Lake Peipus was covered by alarm guarding to the full extent and no major development works were being planned there in the coming years but border guarding on the River Narva was being reinforced.
The Minister of the Interior also replied to the interpellations concerning the impact of the green transition on the area of administration of the Ministry of the Interior (No. 230), the impact of inflation on the area of administration of the Ministry of the Interior (No. 313) and the rise in VAT (No. 130 and No. 112).
The Minister of Education and Research Kristina Kallas replied to the interpellations concerning the closing down of schools in rural areas (No. 108), preservation of small schools (No. 291), the integral impact of the tax package (No. 229 and No. 139), the rise in VAT (No. 119), the impact of the green transition on the area of administration of the ministry managed by the minister (No. 142) and the concept of a uniform Estonian school (No. 275).
The sitting ended at 9.26 p.m.
Video recording will be available to watch later on the Riigikogu YouTube channel.