Riigikogu forced to cut short excise duty hike deliberations

Alcohol in a bar (Photo is illustrative).
Alcohol in a bar (Photo is illustrative). Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

The Riigikogu did not manage to pass a bill tied to a government confidence vote to hike excise duties at its Wednesday sitting and will probably convene again for an extraordinary sitting next week. Thursday marked the end of the Riigikogu spring session.

The bill aims to hike excise duty rates for alcohol and tobacco products for the purposes of generating more tax revenue and to affect availability of alcohol and tobacco products.

The bill would hike the duty on alcohol by 5 percent a year in 2024-2026, with the same hike in store for cigarettes and smoking tobacco. The duty on tobacco liquids will also grow by 5 percent annually in the coming years, while the minimal excise duty sum will grow by as much for cigars and cigarillos.

The bill cancels previously prescribed excise hikes for fiscally market diesel fuel in 2024-2027, with the duty rate maintained at €21 per 1,000 liters.

The coalition on June 8 decided to tie the bill to a vote of confidence in the government (to avoid filibustering), in doing so taking over the duties of the responsible Riigikogu committee. Proposals to amend are not put to a vote in case of bills that are tied to a confidence vote.

The opposition Conservative People's Party (EKRE) proposed cutting the Thursday sitting short and wrapping up at 11:30 a.m., while it was voted down 27 votes to 48.

The Thursday sitting started at 10 a.m. after the Wednesday sitting that lasted all night ended at 9:30 a.m. Interpellations and amendment proposals were registered for an hour.

The Board of the Riigikogu then convened to decide whether to conclude the procedural part of the sitting and start deliberating bills on the agenda for the day. Because consensus was not found in the three-member board that also has a representative of the opposition, the matter was put to a vote on the floor, which passed with 53 votes in support.

Thursday marked the end of the Riigikogu spring session, with regular sittings set to resume on October 11.

In the meantime, Riigikogu committees will continue their work and MPs will continue discharging their other duties. Extraordinary sittings will also be held in between regular sessions, which can be convened by the Riigikogu president, government or at least 21 MPs.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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