At today’s sitting, the Riigikogu did not support the draft Resolution that provided for a referendum to establish a quota for beneficiaries of international protection in Estonia.
The Draft Resolution of the Riigikogu “Holding a Referendum to Establish a Quota for Beneficiaries of International Protection in Estonia” (229 OE), submitted by 25 members of the members of the Riigikogu, provided for holding a referendum on 16 October 2016 with the question: “Are you in favour of Estonia establishing a quota for beneficiaries of international protection every year?”
Oudekki Loone, who took the floor on behalf of the submitters of the draft Resolution, said that one of the most important and acute questions in public debates in Estonia over the last one and a half years has been how many beneficiaries of international protection Estonia should accept and who decides on it. “This draft Resolution will provide an opportunity to the citizens of Estonia to express their will. It provides for holding a referendum regarding the fundamental principles of granting international protection to aliens,” Loone said. The reporter said that offering international protection inevitably brings about obligations and costs for the state. She noted that, for example in Estonia, they are formulated in the Act on Granting International Protection to Aliens.
Mart Nutt, who took the floor on behalf of the Constitutional Committee, gave an overview of the discussions that had been held in the committee and the main issues that had become apparent in the discussion. Nutt said that there had been a proposal in the Committee to ask also the relevant opinion of legal experts. The reporter gave a brief overview of the expert opinions submitted in connection with this draft Resolution. Nutt said that the Committee moved to reject the draft Resolution at the first reading.
Jaak Madison, who took the floor on behalf of the Estonian Conservative People’s Party Faction in the debate, said that he agreed with the proposal, made in the course of the debate, to pass this draft Resolution for the second reading at today’s voting. “Then it would be possible to submit motions to amend, and to specify this aim,” Madison added. He pointed out that the Conservative People’s Party supports sending this draft Resolution to the second reading.
Oudekki Loone, who took the floor on behalf of the Centre Party Faction, called for more discussion on refugee policy and for asking guidance from the people.
The lead committee moved to reject the draft Resolution at the first reading. 47 members of the Riigikogu were in favour of the motion, 30 were against, and there were 2 abstentions. Thus the draft Resolution was dropped from the proceedings of the Riigikogu.
The draft Resolution had been initiated by Enn Eesmaa, Mihhail Korb, Toomas Vitsut, Andrei Novikov, Erki Savisaar, Mihhail Stalnuhhin, Peeter Ernits, Vladimir Velman, Siret Kotka, Martin Repinski, Mailis Reps, Olga Ivanova, Jüri Ratas, Anneli Ott, Tarmo Tamm, Kadri Simson, Jaanus Karilaid, Rein Ratas, Aadu Must, Heimar Lenk, Oudekki Loone, Dmitri Dmitrijev, Marika Tuus-Laul, Valeri Korb and Viktor Vassiljev.
The Bill on Amendments to the Act on Amendments to the Social Tax Act, the Income Tax Act and Other Acts (235 SE), initiated by the Centre Party Faction, was also dropped from the proceedings of the Riigikogu. It concerned an excise duty rise adopted last year. The Bill provided for abandonment of the rise in fuel excise duty on 1 January in 2017 and 2018.
Andres Ammas from the Free Party Faction, Martin Helme from the Estonian Conservative People’s Party Faction and Tarmo Tamm from the Centre Party Faction took the floor on behalf of factions during the debate.
The lead committee moved to reject the Bill at the first reading. 48 members of the Riigikogu were in favour of the motion, 37 were against, and there were no abstentions. Thus the Bill was dropped from the proceedings of the Riigikogu.
Due to the end of the working hours of the sitting, the Draft Resolution of the Riigikogu “Holding a Referendum regarding the European Union’s Migrant Redistribution Plan” (261 OE), submitted by the Estonian Conservative People’s Party Faction, was not deliberated. It provides for putting the question “Do you agree with the Republic of Estonia participating in the redistribution of the migrants arriving in the European Union?” on referendum on 23 April 2017. The draft Resolution will be deliberated in the next working week.
Verbatim record of the sitting (in Estonian) http://stenogrammid.riigikogu.ee/et/201609221000
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
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