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At Question Time ministers answered the questions of the members of the Riigikogu.

Minister Jaan Õunapuu answered the question of Kaarel Pürg about the Ida-Virumaa administrative reform and the question of Peeter Tulviste about the cooperation with the Minister of Education.

Minister of Defence Margus Hanson answered the question of Eiki Nestor about the national defence, the question of Toomas Alatalu about the Estonian front line and the question of Trivimi Velliste about the safety of the Estonian air space.

Minister of the Environment Villu Reiljan answered the question of Tõnis Lukas about the implementation of laws and the question of Mark Soosaar about plans.

The Riigikogu passed the following Acts:

The Earth?s Crust Act Amendment Act (209 SE), initiated by the Estonian People?s Union Faction, Estonian Reform Party Faction and Union for the Republic ? Res Publica Faction, was passed with 71 votes in favour (1 vote against). The Act regulates the re-registration of the authorisation of the use of mineral resources and temporary permits of the use of mineral resources into extraction permits.

The Act on Amendments to the Acts Related to the Economic Activities Register Act and Commercial Activities Act (166 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic, was passed with 71 votes in favour (1 vote against, 1 abstention). The Act specifies the provisions related to the implementation of the Economic Activities Register Act and Commercial Activities Act.

The Acts Regulating Legal Protection of the Industrial Property and Associated Acts Amendment Act (195 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic, was passed with 77 votes in favour (1 vote against). The Act harmonises the regulations concerning the implementation of the rights of industrial property. The Act harmonises the terminology in various Acts and makes the regulation of similar law institutes more coherent.

The Riigikogu passed with 74 votes in favour (2 votes against, 1 abstention) the Metrology Act (216 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic. The Act brings the Estonian Act on metrology into conformity with the law of the European Union.

The Act on the Accession to the North Atlantic Treaty (262 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic, was passed with 85 votes in favour. The Act provides for the accession to the North-Atlantic Treaty. On November 21, 2002, at the Prague Summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (henceforth NATO) Estonia was invited to the negotiations, the aim of which was Estonia? s accession to NATO. For the accession to the North-Atlantic Treaty, the Riigikogu had to ratify the North-Atlantic Treaty. The North Atlantic Treaty, concerning Estonia?s accession, enters into force upon deposition of the accession instrument (the instrument of ratification) by the Government of the United States. The formal handing over of the accession instruments of all the acceding states to the Secretary of State of the USA is on April 2, 2004.

The Riigikogu passed with 75 votes in favour the Act on the Ratification of the European Code of Social Security (202 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic.The Code, opened for signing on April 16, 1964 and enforced on March 17, 1968, is one of the most essential conventions of the Council of Europe in the social field. The purpose of the Act is to promote, through the strengthening of legal certainty, social security in Estonia.

The Act on the Ratification of the Annual Financing Agreements of 2002 and 2003 of the Special Accession Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development in the Republic of Estonia between the Commission of the European Communities on behalf of the European Community and the Republic of Estonia (259 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic, was passed with 55 votes in favour. The named agreements establish the sizes of the annual obligations in the years 2002 and 2003, allocated for the implementation of the Special Accession Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (SAPARD) by the Committee to the Republic of Estonia, their expiry dates and the amendments to the earlier annual and multiannual financing agreements.

The Act on the Ratification of the Supplementary Protocols to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (222 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic, was passed with 37 votes in favour. The objective of the Convention is to promote the cooperation between different states to more efficiently than before fight against transnational organized crime. The Convention stipulates the participation in an organized criminal group, money laundering and corruption as well as obstruction of justice as criminal offences.

The Riigikogu concluded the second reading of the following Bills:

The Radiation Bill (221 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic.

The Bill on Amendments to the Gaseous Fuel Safety Act (169 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic.

The Bill on Amendments to the Infectious Animal Disease Control Act (252 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic.

The Riigikogu concluded the first reading of the following Bills:

The Bill on Amendments to the Telecommunications Act, Surveillance Act, Security Authorities Act and Code of Criminal Proceedings (219 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic. The term for submission of motions to amend to the Legal Affairs Committee is 24 March, 18.00.

The Bill on Amendments to the Aliens Act and to the Other Acts Arising Therefrom (263 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic. The term for submission of motions to amend to the Constitutional Committee is 24 May, 18.00.

The Bill on Amendments to the Youth Work Act (254 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic. The term for submission of motions to amend to the Cultural Affairs Committee is 15 March, 10.00.

The Riigikogu rejected the following Bill at the first reading:

The Bill on Amendments to § 59 (12) of the Public Transport Act (225 SE), initiated by Members of the Riigikogu Eldar Efendijev, Kaarel Pürg, Mihhail Stalnuhhin and Vladimir Velman. The motion to reject the Bill was made by the leading committee ? the Economic Affairs Committee. The results of voting: 53 votes in favour, 21 against. The Bill was withdrawn from legislative proceeding.

The Riigikogu Press Service

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