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Riigikogu postpones decision on sugary drinks tax

If implemented, the tax could temporarily increase the price of sugary drinks by 35-50 percent.
If implemented, the tax could temporarily increase the price of sugary drinks by 35-50 percent. Source: (AFP/Scanpix)

The Riigikogu had the opportunity on Tuesday to pass a bill into law aiming to introduce a tax on sugary drinks, but decided not to do so. They will continue their work on the bill and vote again at a later time.

Not a single member of the Estonian parliament voted in favor of passing the bill into law. 62 voted against, one member abstained.

President of the Riigikogu Eiki Nestor (SDE) set Oct. 31 as the deadline for new proposals for changing the bill.

After the Riigikogu had passed the bill for the first time, President Kersti Kaljulaid refused to sign it into law and sent it back to parliament, commenting that the government’s attempts at influencing citizens’ decisions concerning food and drink were excessive.

Kaljulaid saw a problem with the bill because in its form back then it would have exempt those sugary drinks from the new tax produced for the purpose of selling them on ships in international waters. This, Kaljulaid argued, went against the principle of equal treatment and was thus not constitutional.

The president’s comments triggered a small scandal at the time, as she compared the effort to tax sugary drinks, driven mainly by Social Democratic minister Jevgeni Ossinovski, to present-day tendencies towards an ever more domineering and controlling attitude of the state.

In early October the Ministry of Finance published an assessment that didn’t see a reason why the law as rejected by the president should be changed.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

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