Two Riigikogu committees to discuss pension reform bill on Thursday

Chairman of the Finance Committee of the Riigikogu Aivar Kokk (foreground).
Chairman of the Finance Committee of the Riigikogu Aivar Kokk (foreground). Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

The Riigikogu's finance committee is to discuss the pension reform bill this Thursday, ERR's online news in Estonian reports. The constitutional committee is set to do the same.

Finance committee chair Aivar Kokk (Isamaa) told the ERR the committee needed to investigate proposals put by President Kersti Kaljulaid, who returned the bill to the Riigikogu, in line with her constitutional role, rather than giving it assent, on February 7.

The bill, whose most contentious point surrounds making membership of the so-called second pillar of the pensions system, which refers to employee contributions, optional where they had previously been mandatory for most wager earners since 2010.

"We will have it before the finance committee on Thursday. We will review all seven points the president has written to us, and then make a decision," said Aivar Kokk.

Kokk also said he thought the committee would take a stance that the bill not be reopened for amendment.

Committee chair Paul Puustusmaa (EKRE) told the ERR that, in his personal opinion, the law does not contain anything which infringes the constitution to an extent that would prevent the legislator from enacting it, hinting that in his view bringing the constitutionality of the bill into question was itself a misuse of the constitution.

"I am also of the general opinion that the arbitrary and day-to-day interpretation of the constitution, which seeks to severely limit the democratic and progressive development of our society, has become too bad a practice recently," Puustusmaa said.

The Pension Reform Act may subsequently reach the Riigikogu again in the first half of March. It passed its second reading vote on January 30.

Chancellor of Justice Ülle Madise can also take the bill to the Supreme Court.

Concerns about the constitutional aspect of the reform, the brainchild of the Isamaa party and a pre-election manifesto pledge which it got on to last year's coalition agreement, largely hinge on questions of equal treatment between those who remain in the pillar, those who leave it, or who leave it later, and those who were never in it.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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