Riigikogu to process delayed laws at additional session on Monday

Riigikogu building.
Riigikogu building. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

The Riigikogu is to hold an additional session next Monday to deal with a raft of legislative amendments which had been held up due to a filibuster earlier in the month.

The legislation mostly deals with tax hikes and other ways to improve the state budgetary position ahead of the 2024 state budget process starting; the Riigikogu had in the meantime officially broken up for summer.

Riigikogu Speaker Lauri Hussar (Eesti 200) has convened an extraordinary session of the Riigikogu to take place Monday, June 19, 2023, starting at 10 a.m.

The session was called for by the government and attempts to address various parliamentary business which was still undone when the Riigikogu officially wrapped up for summer, on Thursday.

The session is to address legislation which would hike VAT and taxation, namely the Bill on Amendments to the Alcohol, Tobacco, Fuel and Electricity Excise Duty Act and the Act on Amendments to the Alcohol, Tobacco, Fuel and Electricity Excise Duty Act and Other Acts. The bill is at its second reading (of three) and has been tied to a vote of confidence in the government.

The bill would raise the excise duty rates on alcohol and tobacco products so as to increase excise revenue and to influence the availability of alcohol and tobacco products, it is reported

Similarly, the Bill on Amendments to the Value-Added Tax Act will have its second reading, and will be tied to a vote of confidence, as is the Bill on Amendments to the Income Tax Act and the Military Service Act.

The general VAT rate is to be hiked from 20 to 22 per cent from 1 January, 2024, under the terms of this legislation which, it is argued, will eliminate several tax advantages, raise the income tax rate and replace what has been described as a regressive income tax exemption with a single income tax allowance.  

Additionally the Bill on Amendments to the Gambling Tax Act Act, which will raise the tax rates on various types of gambling games in order to increase the state budget revenue, and the Bill on Amendments to the Government of the Republic Act and Other Associated Acts, which will reorganize the activities of ministries and it is planned to enter into force on July 1, 2023, will be read at Monday's session.

The Bill on Amendments to the Family Law Act and Amendments to Other Associated Acts, which cuts family budgets, and the Bill on Amendments to the State Budget for 2023 Act along with the Bill on Amendments to the Income Tax Act are also to be read, plus the Act on Amendments to the Social Welfare Act and the Income Tax, (the latter is at its third reading, which will amend the principles for the allocation of income tax to local governments.

One other matter to be dealt with at the extraordinary session is hearing the oath of office of Margit Vutt, Justice of the Supreme Court.

The Riigikogu returns after summer on Monday, September 10.

The additional sittings follow a period of burning the midnight oil (figuratively speaking given that Estonia is now in the long nights of midsummer) during the final weeks of Riigikogu sittings before midsummer, which in turn are the result of extensive filibustering by the three opposition parties, EKRE, Isamaa and Center.

It is quite possible that this filibuster continues into Monday's additional session, too.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

Source: Riigikogu press office

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