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At the sitting of the Riigikogu, the Minister of Finance Toomas Tõniste gave a survey on the stability supports granted by the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) and Estonia’s participation in the European Stability Mechanism last year.

“The ESM has helped ensure financial stability in the euro area, and has done so by granting support loans to countries that for various reasons could no longer include necessary funds in the markets. Such loans have also been granted under more favourable terms than would be possible under ordinary circumstances,” the Minister of Finance said.

Tõniste said that the countries who had received support loans had saved up to five per cent of GDP on a year basis. “It has been possible to direct this saving to the restoration of the economy. We cannot forget also the conditionality accompanying these loans which has made these countries to put their public finances in order, to clean their banking sector and to carry out structural reforms,” he said.

“Ireland and Portugal who received support through the EFSF, and Cyprus and Spain as ESM clients have made a good use of the new opportunity given to them and are showing positive or very positive budget and economic results,” Tõniste said. He added that the security network of the euro area had helped restore trust which had been important in ensuring a favourable economic environment.

Tõniste said that Estonia’s obligations in the ESM had not increased. He also drew attention to the fact that the ESM had earned returns that had been directed to reserves. The minister said that, in 2016, returns in the amount of 568 million euro had been directed to the reserve, and the volume of the reserve amounted to nearly two billion euro by now.

When speaking of the future plans for the ESM, Tõniste said that this year the completion of the Greek programme and the post-programme surveillance of Spain and Cyprus were dealt with. In the minister’s words, the ESM also figures strongly in the discussions on the future of the EMU, and the expansion of the role of the ESM, that is, bringing it from the international agreement into European Union law, is also dealt with.

During the debate, Jürgen Ligi from the Reform Party Faction and Henn Põlluaas from the Estonian Conservative People’s Party Faction took the floor.

Two Bills passed the first reading in the Riigikogu:

The Bill on Amendments to the Identity Documents Act (569 SE), initiated by the Government, will provide that a digital identity card is issued with the period of validity of up to five years, instead of three years. The aim of the Bill is to make the use and application for a digital identity card more convenient through extension of the period of validity of digital identity cards, as well as to harmonise the periods of validity of identity documents.

Under the Bill on Amendments to the Identity Documents Act and the Obligation to Leave and Prohibition on Entry Act (European travel document for return) (585 SE), initiated by the Government, in the Identity Documents Act, the list of documents issued will be amended by including the European travel document for return, the purpose of which is to facilitate the return and readmission of third-country nationals staying illegally on the territory of the Member States. The competence to issue and revoke the document will be given to the Police and Border Guard Board.

The Bill is connected with the Regulation (EU) 2016/1953 of the European Parliament and of the Council.

Up to now, the recommended European Union travel document of uniform format has been used when returning illegally staying third-country nationals.

Verbatim record of the sitting (in Estonian).

Video recordings of the sittings of the Riigikogu can be viewed at: https://www.youtube.com/riigikogu

(NB! The recording will be uploaded with a delay.)

Riigikogu Press Service
Merilin Kruuse
Phone +372 631 6353, +372 510 6179
E-mail [email protected]
Questions [email protected]