Finance committee OKs pension reform bill and pushes for adoption ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Coins. Source: Christoph Scholz/Creative Commons

The finance committee of the Riigikogu on Tuesday discussed the pension reform law that the president refused to proclaim earlier this month, and decided by a majority of votes to forward the bill to the plenary for repeat adoption without changes.

The Riigikogu's constitutional committee made the same decision last week. 

Chairman of the finance committee Aivar Kokk admitted that different opinions have been expressed in the course of the proceeding.

"But these cannot be an obstacle to adopting the law," Kokk said.

The Isamaa MP said that when the system of the second pillar of the pension system, meaning mandatory accumulation of money into a pension fund, was created, the authors of the bill explained to the Riigikogu that the money placed into the second pillar is the property of the owner of the pension account.

"In the second pension pillar we have assets accumulated by the person themselves, to which also the right of inheritance applies," Kokk said.

Kokk added that before the repeat discussion of the bill, linguistic and technical rectifications will be made in its text. Based on the Riigikogu Rules of Procedure and Internal Rules Act, these rectifications cannot be deemed as proposals to amend and are not subject to vote in the plenary.

Deputy chair of the finance committee Maris Lauri from the Reform Party said: "It can be seen that as things stand, the Riigikogu is unable to find a consensus. The bad things is that the coalition continues to refuse to listen to arguments against and is trying to present its own opinion as the opinion of the entire Riigikogu, refusing to even mention or introduce dissenting opinions."

She added that also technical changes and rectifications have to be introduced into a law in a legitimate manner, not under the disguise of a correction of mistakes with the signature of the speaker of the Riigikogu.

The Riigikogu on January 29 gave the green light to the reform of mandatory funded pensions by passing a bill of amendments to the Funded Pensions Act and other associated acts. 

President Kersti Kaljulaid on February 7 did not promulgate the law aiming to make the second pension pillar voluntary, citing several inconsistencies with the Constitution.

The head of state said the so-called pension reform law disproportionately violates the fundamental rights of the people and is in many respects contrary to the principles of the rule of law and social state as well as the principles of legitimate expectations highlighted in the Constitution.

As the president did not promulgate the law, the bill was sent back to the Riigikogu. After that, the Riigikogu could amend it or to adopt it once more unchanged. If the latter happens, the president will have to decide again whether to proclaim it or to refer it to the Supreme Court, which shall make the final decision.

The second pillar pension reform policy has been pushed by Isamaa and appeared in its pre-election manifesto ahead of the general election last year.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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