The Riigikogu did not support expressing no confidence in Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas, which was initiated by 33 members of the factions of the Estonian Centre Party and the Estonian Conservative People's Party on Monday.
At the voting, 41 members of the Riigikogu supported expressing no confidence and 59 were against it.
The Chairman of the Estonian Centre Party Faction Ms Kadri Simson said that one of the reasons for expressing no confidence was the cluster bill on tax changes initiated by the Government, which aims to raise the fuel excise duty rate, and the value added tax rate for accommodation providers.
Simson noted that thousands of people had demonstrated against the raising of the fuel excise duty, more than 28,000 signatures had been given, and numerous entrepreneurs and organisations of entrepreneurs had spoken against it. “We believe that, as the head of the government, the Prime Minister is responsible for the negative changes about to be made,” Simson said.
Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas explained that shifting of tax burden from the taxation of workforce towards taxation of consumption will contribute to economic growth. “The less taxes we impose on the income earned with the hard work of the people, the better competition conditions we create for Estonia so that more jobs would be created here, the more domestic and foreign investments this policy brings to Estonia, the faster the economy can grow. Reducing the taxes on labour has a favourable impact on economic growth,” Rõivas said.
“I totally understand that in short perspective people are not satisfied that the fuel excise duty will rise,” said Prime Minister Rõivas. “But I consider it my duty to explain to people that all this is in the name of greater purposes, so that we could sustainably grow as an economy, that taxes on labour could be reduced in Estonia, that it would be possible to improve the subsistence of families with children, significantly increase the benefit for the third child, that it would be possible to support single pensioners and single parents through the single pensioners support measure, which we plan to implement from the year after the next year, and also to establish the maintenance allowance fund for single parents,” Rõivas said.
In the opinion of the Prime Minister, the Social Democratic Party, the Pro Patria and Res Publica Union and the Reform Party have formed a government whose mission is to solve the great challenges faced by Estonia. “The Government with its budget strategy has created possibilities for supporting the agreed upon great aims and at the same time keeping the revenues and expenditures of the state balanced during the next four years,” Rõivas said.
The representatives of factions Kadri Simson, Martin Helme and Andres Herkel, who took the floor during the debate, made critical remarks on the tax changes and the activities of the Government.
Video recordings of the sittings of the Riigikogu are available at https://www.youtube.com/riigikogu (NB! The recording will be uploaded with a delay.)
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