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The President of the Republic met with the Legal Chancellor

President Arnold Rüütel today at Kadriorg met with Legal Chancellor Allar Jõks. The Legal Chancellor gave an overview of the priority areas of his activities in 2005.

Allar Jõks brought out the problem of the accessibility of medical care, particularly the lack of possibilities for persons not covered by health insurance to receive state-financed general medical care and inadequate accessibility of general and specialised medical care for those who live in more remote places. The President and the Legal Chancellor noted that the constitutional right to the protection of health was inadequately guaranteed for these groups of population.

The President of the Republic was interested in the protection of fundamental rights of persons in connection with the implementation of the Planning Act - whether the interests of citizens were protected when the plans were coordinated and made public, and whether the living environment for those living in the neighbourhood would not worsen. The Legal Chancellor pointed out that the area of building and planning activities was on his list of priorities for the current year.

The Head of State and the Legal Chancellor discussed the issue of members of the Riigikogu serving at the same time as members of local government councils, the consistency with the constitution of which the Legal Chancellor questioned. A common understanding was reached that the members of the Riigikogu should not serve simultaneously as members of the local government councils. Also the topic of permissibility of election coalitions in the elections of local government councils in the autumn of this year was discussed.

President Rüütel and Allar Jõks spoke about the extension of the authority of the State Audit Office to audit local governments. The Legal Chancellor pointed out that there would be no contradiction with the constitution provided that such regulation did not cause disproportional limitations to the right of local governments to operate independently.

Also the guarantee of independence of constitutional institutions was discussed, with the emphasis on the necessity for financial autonomy. The funding has to be organised in the amount that enables them to fulfil the obligations imposed by law.

The Head of State and the Legal Chancellor expressed their satisfaction over the fact that the size of subsistence benefit was raised this year. But it was also noted that there was a need to establish by law such a mechanism for the calculation of subsistence benefits that would take into account inflation and would prevent that the establishment of subsistence benefits would depend solely on political decisions.

In the course of the meeting, also the ratification of the EU Constitution and the consequent need for amending the Constitution of the Republic of Estonia were discussed.

It was decided to enhance the exchange of information in future and to strengthen the cooperation between the President of the Republic and the Legal Chancellor.

Public Relations Unit of the Office of the President
Kadriorg, April 13, 2005

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