TALLINN - The group of the opposition Reform Party in the Estonian parliament opined that the Riigikogu should expedite its work to resolve the coronavirus crisis and that an additional session of the parliament must be convened this week to discuss the draft supplementary budget.
"We have made a proposal to the council of elders of the Riigikogu to convene an extra session of the Riigikogu for the [draft] state budget to be handed over [to the parliament]. If that happens tomorrow, for instance, then we can hold first reading of the state budget on Thursday," leader of the Reform Party group Kaja Kallas was quoted by spokespeople as saying.
"Last week, [Minister of Finance] Martin Helme indicated that he is ready to rapidly bring the supplementary budget before the Riigikogu. Considering that the implementation of Kredex crisis measures depends on the adoption of the supplementary budget, we need to act fast. The Reform Party is prepared to discuss the supplementary budget this week -- the sooner workers and entrepreneurs have legal certainty regarding the mitigation of the economic effects of the crisis, the better," Kallas said.
Kallas noted that it is important that the parliament be able to effectively familiarize itself with the proposed amendments also in accelerated procedure.
"The Riigikogu cannot be the government's rubber stamp, not even in a crisis. First reading of the budget, for instance, can only be held when members of the Riigikogu have had the chance to acquaint themselves with the budget and to prepare their questions for the minister of finance. The sooner the government hands the budget over to the Riigikogu, the sooner we can hold first reading," Kallas said.
The group of the Reform Party said that the committees of the Riigikogu should continue work and also hold public sittings.
"Our MPs will make proposals to chairs of Riigikogu committees to hold committee sittings this week and, if possible, hold them publicly to give a sense of the progress made with crisis measures in various fields," Kallas said.