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The Bill on Amendments to the Medicinal Products Act and the Health Services Organisation Act (615 SE), initiated by the Social Affairs Committee, passed the second reading. According to it, enterprises engaged in the wholesale of medicinal products and enterprises connected with them through dominant influence will not be allowed to hold an activity licence of general pharmacy. It also provides that a temporary restriction will be established in settlements with 4000 or more inhabitants, according to which, until 9 June 2015, a pharmacy can be opened in such settlements only on the proposal of the local government and with the consent of the State Agency of Medicines. 

According to the amendment, in the future, it will be allowed to establish branch pharmacies only in rural areas, and in smaller cities with less than 4000 inhabitants. In addition, the Bill provides that general pharmacies will be granted the possibility to organise delivery of medicinal products at the request of patient. An amendment concerns the definition of dispensing chemists and pharmacists as health care professionals, the establishment of and the organisation of the work of pharmacy bus, the payment of start up allowance for working in the country to pharmacists, and the simplification of opening a pharmacy on small islands. 

The Chairman of the Social Affairs Committee Heljo Pikhof who presented the Bill said that, with the judgment of the Supreme Court of 9 December 2013, establishment restrictions upon establishing new pharmacies and expanding of or changing the seat of existing pharmacies in cities had been declared to be in conflict with the Constitution, and invalid. “The entry into force of the judgment was postponed for six months because if establishment restrictions are declared invalid and no other measures are established, an increasing closing down of country pharmacies cannot be excluded,” she added. 

In Pikhof’s words, an important aim of the proposed Bill is indeed to protect pharmacies and the availability of medicinal products in rural areas, and for that reason the one-year restriction on the establishment of pharmacies in settlements and cities with 4000 or more inhabitants had been written into the Act. “The transition period is above all in the interests of the people. It is to ensure that we will have pharmacies in the country,” she said. Pikhof noted that, during the one-year transition period, the state is planning to come up with additional proposals and solutions to protect pharmacies and pharmacy services in rural areas. 

Members of the Riigikogu asked 16 questions of the Chairman of the Social Affairs Committee. The third reading of, and final vote, on the Bill will take place on 21 May, that is, tomorrow. 

The Bill on Amendments to the Citizenship Act (586 SE), initiated by the Constitutional Committee, also passed the second reading in the Riigikogu. It provides more favourable requirements for applying for Estonian citizenship for persons whose legal status was not defined, as a result of inactivity of the legal representative, while they were less than 15 years of age. Under the current Citizenship Act, among other things, an alien who wishes to acquire Estonian citizenship by naturalisation must hold a long-term residence permit or the right of permanent residence, and, prior to the date on which he or she submits the application for Estonian citizenship, must have lived in Estonia for at least eight years on the ground of a residence permit or by right of residence, of which at least the last five years on a permanent basis. 

Under the current Act, a person does not have the possibility to apply for citizenship if he or she has permanently resided in Estonia during the period set out in the Act but, due to inactivity of his or her legal representative, a residence permit was not applied for for him or her, or was not extended in due course, while he or she was less than 15 years of age. The Bill will allow for application for citizenship for persons who have stayed in Estonia for at least eight years before attaining 15 years of age, regardless of whether they held a residence permit or the right of residence at that time or not. 

The Riigikogu discussed the waste management plan: 

The Riigikogu discussed the action plan of the National Waste Management Plan 2014–2020. Reports were by the Minister of the Environment Keit Pentus-Rosimannus and Chairman of the Environment Committee Rainer Vakra. The National Waste Management Plan 2014–2020 is a development document covering the whole area of waste which sets out the principles of the development of the area of waste, and the measures together with actions for the next seven years. According to the State Budget Act, the development plan is submitted to the Riigikogu for deliberation before approval. 

The main aim of the waste management plan is to prevent and reduce waste generation, to prepare the greatest possible share of waste for reuse, and to recycle and recover it, and to reduce the environmental risk arising from waste. In the increasing of waste recovery, priority must be given to reuse and recycling. For that purpose, it is important to develop an optimum waste collection and handling network. One of the most complicated tasks for the forthcoming period is to increase the recycling of municipal waste generated, to achieve the target of 50% by 2020. 

The Riigikogu approved four Resolutions: 

The Riigikogu approved with 48 votes in favour the Resolution of the Riigikogu “Removal of Members and Appointment of New Members of the Supervisory Board of the State Forest Management Centre” (670 OE), initiated by the Environment Committee. With it, Liisa-Ly Pakosta and Jaanus Tamkivi are removed from the Board, and Karel Rüütli and Jaan Õunapuu are appointed as members of the Board. The State Forest Management Centre engages in the growing and guarding of the state forest, the planting and growing of new forest, the organisation of forestry works, and the sale of timber. The State Forest Management Centre maintains forest roads and drainage systems, and monitors fire hazard in the state forest. 

The Riigikogu approved with 70 votes in favour the Resolution of the Riigikogu “Appointment of the Representative of Estonia to the Control Committee of the Nordic Investment Bank” (671 OE), initiated by the Finance Committee. It provides for the appointment of the Chairman of the Finance Committee Rannar Vassiljev as the representative of Estonia. The Control Committee is responsible for the audit of the accounting records of the Bank, and submits the annual auditor’s report to the Board of Governors. 

The Riigikogu approved with 59 votes in favour the Resolution of the Riigikogu “Amendment of the Resolution of the Riigikogu “Formation of the Estonian Delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization”” (662 OE), initiated by the Foreign Affairs Committee. With it, Marianne Mikko is as appointed the head of the Estonian delegation. The current head of the delegation Marko Mihkelson is appointed as a member of the delegation. 

The Riigikogu approved with 54 votes in favour the Resolution of the Riigikogu “Amendments to the Resolution of the Riigikogu “Formation of the Estonian Delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe”” (665 OE), initiated by the Foreign Affairs Committee. It provides for the appointment of the alternate member of the delegation Indrek Saar as the head of the delegation, and the appointment of the current head of the delegation Liisa-Ly Pakosta as an alternate member.

The verbatim record of the sitting (in Estonian): http://www.riigikogu.ee/?op=steno&stcommand=stenogramm&day=20&date=1400572642

The Riigikogu Press Service