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Riigikogu

At Question Time ministers answered the questions of the members of the Riigikogu. A total of 9 items were deliberated.

Prime Minister Juhan Parts answered the questions about the membership of supervisory boards of companies, the appointment of County Governors, the activity of the Government, the proposal of the Chancellor of Justice, restrictions on trade, the Code of Civil Procedure, obligatory party affiliation and preparing of personnel for the European Union.

Minister of Finance Taavi Veskimägi answered the question about the possibilities for the implementation of the Sixth Council Directive in Estonia.

The Riigikogu passed the following Acts:

The Riigikogu passed with 60 votes in favour the Riigikogu Rules of Procedure Act Amendment Act (348 SE), initiated by the Constitutional Committee. The Act makes amendments to the procedure for appointment of alternate members of factions serving at standing committees, the procedure for making reports at the second reading of draft legislation at the Riigikogu plenary sittings and the procedure for replying to interpellations.

The Riigikogu passed with 54 votes in favour (1 abstention) the Fishing Act Amendment Act (471 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic. It was necessary to make amendments to the Fishing Act because on 15 April 2004 the Government of the Republic made a decision on the reallocation of tasks between the Ministry of the Environment and the Ministry of Agriculture in connection with the administration of the fisheries sector. On the basis of the results of an audit, the expert committee made the Government a proposal to appoint the Ministry of Agriculture responsible for administration of the fisheries sector and the Ministry of the Environment, for the administration of activities relating to the protection and restoration of fish resources.

The Riigikogu passed with 59 votes in favour the Packaging Excise Duty Act, Packaging Act and State Fees Act Amendment Act (490 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic. The Act amends the list of types of packages subject to packaging excise duties and specifies the functioning of the packaging tax system. The Act also amends the Annex to the Act which establishes the packaging excise duty rates.

The Riigikogu passed with 58 votes in favour the Names Act (369 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic. The Act establishes a totally new regulation for persons? names. The Act establishes the procedure for the formation of person?s names and the bases for the uniform use of person?s names of Estonian citizens and aliens staying in Estonia.

The Riigikogu passed with 47 votes in favour (14 abstentions) the Local Government Organisation Act Amendment Act (421 SE), initiated by Member of the Riigikogu Olev Laanjärv. The wording of the title of Chapter 6¹ ?Municipal Police? was amended as follows: ?Law Enforcement Unit and Law Enforcement Official?. The content of the Chapter was also specified.

The Riigikogu passed with 60 votes in favour (1 abstention) § 43 of the State Pension Insurance Act Amendment Act (352 SE and 380 SE), initiated by Members of the Riigikogu Eiki Nestor, Siiri Oviir and Kaarel Pürg. According to the Act the early-retirement pension is not paid to persons in case they are employed until they have attained the pensionable age provided for in § 7 of the valid Act.

The Riigikogu passed with 50 votes in favour (1 abstention) the Act on the Ratification of the Convention between the Republic of Estonia and the Kingdom of Spain for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with Respect to Taxes on Income and on Capital and the Protocol Thereto (520 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic. The aim of conclusion of this Convention was to put restrictions on income taxes that one state may impose on residents of another country, and to eliminate international double taxation which may occur as a result of interaction of the laws of two countries. The Convention regulates the division of the right to taxation between the states and stipulates the avoidance of discriminatory taxation and the prevention of fiscal evasion. The Convention limits the impact of a country?s laws (e.g. a 10% tax rate is imposed instead of 26%), which means that a Contracting Party gives up a part of tax revenue in favour of another Party and vice versa. Possible conflicts between national taxation Acts and provisions of the Convention are solved pursuant to § 123 of the Constitution which states: ?If laws or other legislation of Estonia are in conflict with international treaties ratified by the Riigikogu, the provisions of the international treaty shall apply?.

The Resolution of the Riigikogu On the Approval of the Long-term National Development Plan for Fuel and Energy Sector until the Year 2015 (474 OE), initiated by the Government of the Republic, was passed with 45 votes in favour (5 against). The fuel and energy sector is an important state infrastructure which must function and develop so as to ensure Estonia?s continuous supply with quality fuel, electric energy and heat at the lowest possible prices. At the same time, the fuel and energy sector must be as effective as possible and meet the safety and environmental requirements. The document determines the current state of affairs in the sector, highlights the aspects reflected in the EU Accession Treaty, makes prognosis for the developments in energy consumption, defines the strategic objectives of the development of the energy sector, the principles of development and provides the approximate amount of necessary investments and describes problems that need further analysis as well as the tasks in terms of state supervision and regulation. The Development Plan is meant to ensure a balanced development of the energy sector in Estonia.

The Social Democratic Party Faction moved to suspend the second reading of the draft. The result of voting: 5 votes in favour, 41 votes against, 1 abstention. The motion was not supported. The draft was put to the final vote.

The Riigikogu concluded the second reading of the following Bills:

Draft Code of Civil Procedure (208 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic. The Social Democratic Party Faction and the Estonian Centre Party Faction moved to suspend the second reading. The result of voting: 21 votes in favour, 43 against. The motion was not supported.

Bill on Amendments to the Research and Development Activities Act and the Study Allowances and Study Loans Act (504 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic.

Bill on Amendments to the European Union Common Agricultural Policy Implementation Act (515 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic.

Involvement of Employees in the Activity of Community-scale Undertakings, Community-scale Groups of Undertakings and European Company Bill (499 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic. The Social Democratic Party Faction moved to suspend the second reading of the Bill. The result of voting: 7 votes in favour, 36 against. The motion was not supported. The second reading was concluded.

The Riigikogu concluded the first reading of the following Bills:

Draft Resolution of the Riigikogu On the Extension of the Time Limit of the Use of the Estonian Defence Forces Unit in Performance of International Duties of the Estonian State under the International Peacekeeping Mission in Afghanistan (523 OE), submitted by the Government of the Republic.

Bill on the Acceptance of the Constitution of the World Health Organization and Amendments thereto (477 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic.

Bill on Amendments to the Roads Act (501 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic.

Bill on Amendments to the Courts Act and Other Acts for the Merger of Territorial Jurisdictions of Courts (503 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic.

The Riigikogu rejected the following draft legislation:

Draft Resolution of the Riigikogu On Making a Proposal to the Government of the Republic (462 OE), submitted by the Estonian Centre Party Faction. The results of voting on the Resolution: 21 votes in favour, 46 votes against, 3 abstentions. The Draft was withdrawn from legislative proceeding.

Bill on Amendments to § 15 to the Public Transport Act (479 SE), initiated by the Social Democratic Party Faction. The motion to reject the Bill was made by the Economic Affairs Committee. The result of voting: 42 votes in favour, 27 against. The Bill was withdrawn from legislative proceeding.

Bill on Amendments to § 15(2) of the Value Added Tax Act (468 SE), initiated by Members of the Riigikogu Eldar Efendijev, Helle Kalda, Arnold Kimber, Heimar Lenk, Värner Lootsmann, Nelli Privalova, Kaarel Pürg, Mailis Reps, Vilja Savisaar, Evelyn Sepp, Ain Seppik, Mihhail Stalnuhhin, Marika Tuus, Toomas Varek and Vladimir Velman. The motion to reject the Bill was made by the Finance Committee. The result of voting: 40 votes in favour, 25 against. The Bill was withdrawn from legislative proceeding.

The questions asked at the Question Time and the answers to them as well as the verbatim record of the Riigikogu sitting are available (in Estonian) on the Internet at:

http://web.riigikogu.ee/ems/plsql/stenograms.form

The Riigikogu Press Service

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