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Today, the Riigikogu deliberated “Estonian Human Development Report 2009” as a matter of significant national importance.Reports were by chief editor of the Estonian Human Development Report 2009 Marju Lauristin, editor Rivo Noorkõiv and Chairman of the Constitutional Committee Väino Linde.

Marju Lauristin expressed her sincere delight over the fact that, for several years already, the Riigikogu has paid serious attention to the human development report and thereby it has actually helped to increase awareness of the human development problems in Estonian society. It is an opportunity to compare Estonia and the other UN members with regard to the situation of the human development in different countries of the world, that is, the quality of life – health, education and welfare – of people. In Lauristin’s words, these are the three pillars on which the human development stands. She told that the central axis of this report is the environment. When observing the environment of the human development, it is viewed as including, besides the natural environment, the spatial environment on a wider scale, the administrative environment, population as the objective indicator of the human development, but also as an environment for other processes – the social environment, the economic environment, the information environment, education, knowledge and the environment of values. Lauristin stated that the human development report also reflects the impact of the economic crisis on the human development. “The main attention is of course focused on the impacts of unemployment,” said Lauristin. In that connection, she mentioned the impact of unemployment on health, especially men’s health, and the relations of unemployment with education. Lauristin: “Unemployment showed once again the acuteness of the question whether the content of education and qualification meet the requirements of the labour market in Estonia.” When introducing the chapter concerning the natural environment, she referred to the data according to which people are increasingly more interested in their environment, they want to have a say in plannings and they are concerned about how economic development affects their immediate environment. “The air in Tallinn, the noise in Tallinn – certain data concerning them require very keen attention,” warned the speaker.
Lauristin also spoke about the social environment, the labour market and social mobility, the value education at school and home as the spiritual environment, as well as the economic situation. Lauristin stressed that the problems of the whole tax system have to be discussed; our tax system has shown its weakness in the economic crisis. “After all, Estonia belongs to the so-to-say weakest group of the European Union where social protection costs are among the lowest in Europe and poverty risk is still relatively one of the highest,” admitted Lauristin. “We need greater openness and innovation capacity, and it is necessary to set clear priorities and see the global developments,” said Lauristin.
 
Rivo Noorkõiv spoke about regional problems. Noorkõiv referred to the figures reflected in the human development report which show that 60 per cent of total gross domestic product derives from Harjumaa, 40 per cent derives from other counties and 10 per cent derives from Tartu. “No county, except for Harjumaa, actually exceeds the average of the Estonian counties,” said Noorkõiv. As conclusions, he mentioned the very varying resources at the disposal of local governments and the decrease of population in counties which in its turn raises the issues of population regeneration. Noorkõiv drew attention to both social and regional policy issues of the state.
 
Väino Linde introduced the discussions that had been held in the Constitutional Committee saying that the Estonian Human Development Report 2009 is a direct insight into the tendencies of the development of the society and, this time, with an emphasis on the environment of human activity. In Linde’s words, the people who drafted the human development report simply inspire the inputs of politics and they do not attempt to offer relevant political solutions but entrust the search for solutions to politicians. “The main message of the human development report is that we have to be ready today to pass through the “euro gate”. In economic development, we are now standing at the threshold of an innovation-based economy or knowledge economy. In the human development, we are now standing behind the threshold of highly developed countries,” said Linde.
 
On behalf of factions, comments were presented by Kadri Simson, Mai Treial, Raivo Järvi, Andres Herkel, Eiki Nestor and Marek Strandberg; Member of the Riigikogu Nikolai Põdramägi also took the floor.
 
The Riigikogu passed with 81 votes in favour the Act on Amendments to the Commercial Code and Other Acts (708 SE), initiated by the Government. The purpose of the amendments is to regulate company law so that Estonia would be able to adopt the euro on the determined date. Relevant amendments are also made in the Credit Institutions Act, the Securities Market Act, the Estonian Central Register of Securities Act, the Code of Civil Procedure and the State Fees Act. In order to adopt the euro as the official currency of the Republic of Estonia in company law, it will have to be possible, upon foundation of companies, to express in euro all monetary indicators important in terms of the activities of the company. The Act enters into force on 1 July 2010. Clauses 1 1) and 55) (provisions concerning the recalculation from kroon into euro) enter into force on the day determined in the Council of the European Union Resolution on the repeal of the exception established for the Republic of Estonia on the basis of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. Section 5 enters into force on the day following its publication in the Riigi Teataja. Nobody voted against the Act and nobody abstained.
 
The Riigi Teataja Act (654 SE), initiated by the Government, was passed with 78 votes in favour. The new Act provides the transition to issuing of Riigi Teataja only electronically. It also provides publishing of all regulations of local governments and the consolidated texts thereof in Riigi Teataja. This Act enters into force on 1 June 2010. Certain provisions enter into force in 2011, 2013 and 2014. Nobody voted against the Act and nobody abstained.
 
The Act on Amendments to § 831 of the Government of the Republic Act (706 SE), initiated by the Government, was passed with 80 votes in favour. The purpose of the amendments is to ensures economic use of the budget funds of the state and to prevent the situation where a person convicted of an intentionally committed criminal offence during the term of office of a county governor has received a compensation from the state upon termination of the service relationship at the end of the term because criminal proceedings were still in process at the time of occurrence of that event. The Act provides that if the authority of a county governor who is suspected or accused of an intentionally committed criminal offence terminates in connection with termination of the five-year term of service of the county governor, then the compensation in the amount of six months’ salary is paid to the county governor as a social guarantee after termination of the term of service in the case when a judgment of acquittal has entered into force with regard to the county governor. The Act enters into force on the day following its publication in the Riigi Teataja. Nobody voted against the Act, one member of the Riigikogu abstained.
 
The Euro Adoption Act (709 SE), initiated by the Government, was passed with 81 votes in favour. The purpose of the Act is to bring the Estonian legal framework into conformity with the European Union law, in order that Estonia could adopt the single currency, the euro, presumably as of 1 January 2011. The Act regulates the exchanging of the Estonian kroon issued on the basis of the Republic of Estonia Money Act to euro, removal of the kroon from circulation and the parallel circulation of the euro and the kroon. The Act is based on the principle that adoption of the euro as the account currency, in economic calculation and in contractual relationships will be carried out as an immediate sharp transition. In cash circulation, a two week period of parallel circulation of the kroon and the euro will be established as of the day of transition when the kroon and the euro will be equal means of payment in cash. The Act enters into force on the day determined in the Council of the European Union Resolution on the repeal of the exception established for the Republic of Estonia on the basis of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. Nobody voted against the Act and nobody abstained.
 
The State Fees Act (721 SE), initiated by the Government, was passed with 83 votes in favour. The purpose of the new State Fees Act is to ensure that Estonia is ready for the transition to the euro. It provides recalculation of all rates of the state fees charged in Estonia into euro. Recalculation of state fees into euro is based on the fundamental principle of the transition to the euro agreed in the Plan for Euro Changeover in Estonia according to which, in order to set a positive example to the private sector, taxes, state fees, benefits and other kroon amounts related to the budget will be rounded to euro in the more favourable direction for the people. Among other things, the Act increases the limit of state fee payments made in cash and allows to accept an amount of up to 10 euro (= 156.466 kroons) in cash, instead of the current 100 kroons. The Act enters into force on the day determined in the Council of the European Union Resolution on the repeal of the exception established for the Republic of Estonia on the basis of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. Nobody voted against the Act and nobody abstained.
 
On the motion of the Pro Patria and Res Publica Union Faction, the Bill on Amendments to § 63 of the Health Insurance Act (684 SE), initiated by the Estonian People’s Union Faction, was rejected at the first reading. 33 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of the motion and 11 voted against, nobody abstained. Thus, the Bill was dropped from the legislative proceeding.
 
Due to the end of the working hours of the sitting of the plenary assembly, the first reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Employment Contracts Act and the Unemployment Insurance Act (689 SE), initiated by the Social Democratic Party Faction, was adjourned and it will be resumed in the 13th working week of the 7th session.
 
For more details, read the verbatim record of the sitting (in Estonian):
 
 
The Riigikogu Press Service
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