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President of Eesti Pank Andrus Lipstok gave the Riigikogu an overview of the activities of Eesti Pank in 2009. Mr Lipstok concentrated on important developments in Eesti Pank in 2009 and the consequent projections. In his opinion, 2009 was largely taken up by preparations for Euro and signified an important step towards joining the Euro-zone.

As the Government has made plans and promises to the European Union to again achieve budget surplus by 2013, the spring prognosis of the Eesti Pank recommends that the Government improve its budget position by nearly EEK 8 billion in order to reach the budget balance goal set for 2013. “With improved budget position, it will be possible to decrease expenditure or increase income. The tax rates that increased last year and this year will probably limit the further increase of income, i.e. tax burden, to a point where any further increase would start to slow down economic growth. It seems much more pertinent to look for ways of decreasing the tax burden on labour force that rose quickly last year and is inhibiting the creation of new jobs,” Lipstok said.
Lipstok’s speech also touched on issues of financial sector policy. He pointed out that it will be important in upcoming years to manage the inflation caused by administrative measures and to decrease the impact of price increases on other prices. It is also important to invest in competitiveness and efficient competition supervision.
 
On the issue of the future role of the Eesti Pank as the central bank of a Euro-zone country, Mr Lipstok stressed, “When Estonia adopts the Euro, Eesti Pank will become a full-fledged member of the European central banks system. The President of Eesti Pank will start to participate at regular meetings of the Governing Council of the European Central Bank and the European Systematic Risks Council, where all the monetary policy and finance policy decision are made. As a result, the economic analysis ensuring the justifiability of such decisions will significantly grow in volume.” The adoption of Euro will also entail important changes in other fields of activity of the Eesti Pank, such as reserves administration, foreign currency operations, statistics, liquid assets and payment systems. Eesti Pank will retain its duty of compiling the economic forecast for Estonia, but also the responsibility for monitoring and analysing the Estonian economy in a wider sense.
 
Member of the Riigikogu Kalev Kallo made a speech.
 
The Chairman of the Board of the Financial Authority Raul Malstein presented the 2009 report of the Financial Authority, giving an overview of the principal developments in the financial sector in 2009. Malmstein focused on four subject fields: 1. new financial supervision architecture of the European Union; 2. steps taken by the Financial Authority for strengthening the supervision; 3. role of the Financial Authority as bearer of social responsibility, and 4. cooperation on national level. Topics included issues of self-regulation of financial agencies, trans-national supervision, quality of loan portfolios and investment services of banks, as well as stock-market supervision and pension funds. To quote Malmstein,  “While the financial supervision has so far mainly concentrated on supervising the legality of processes and ensuring transparency, from now on we must accord more attention to the significance and content of processes and decisions, and the sustainability of key risks and business models. We will be conducting a more detailed analysis of the sustainability of strategies of financial agencies and the possibilities of risk realisation.”
 
Member of the Riigikogu Marek Strandberg made a speech.
 
Today the Riigikogu passed six Acts:
 
The Act on Amendments to the Human Genes Research Act (741 SE), initiated by the Government, was passed with 78 votes in favour. The amended provision regulates the right to withdraw gene donor consent. Nobody voted against the Act and nobody abstained.
 
The Act on Amendments to the Plant Propagation and Plant Variety Rights Act, the Rural Development and Agricultural Market Regulation Act and the State Fees Act (746 SE), initiated by the Government, was passed with 81 votes in favour. The purpose of the Act is to transpose into the Estonian law the relevant European Union Council directive on the marketing of fruit plant propagating material and fruit plants intended for fruit production, which entered into force in autumn 2008. It also transposes the relevant Commission Directive providing for certain derogations, for acceptance of vegetable landraces and varieties which have been traditionally grown in particular localities and regions and are threatened by genetic erosion and for marketing of seed of those landraces and varieties, which entered into force in autumn 2009 and sets new requirements. Nobody voted against the Act and nobody abstained. § 10 of the Act enters into force on 1 October 2012.
                       
The Bill on Amendments to the State Borders Act and Other Acts (749 SE), initiated by the Government, was adopted with 82 votes in favour. The Act provides objectively measurable requirements for organisation of the entry of vehicles to road border points and for the waiting area of border crossing. It also sets out the principles of the organisation of the border crossing waiting list and provides that the data necessary for maintaining a border crossing waiting list are to be processed in the database of the border crossing waiting list. Nobody voted against the Act and nobody abstained. The Act enters into force on the day following its publication in the Riigi Teataja.
 
The Act on Amendments to the Electronic Communications Act and the Information Society Services Act (727 SE), initiated by the Government, was passed with 81 votes in favour. The amendments improve the protection of the fundamental rights of persons from messages intended for direct marketing. The Act specifies the conditions under which such messages may be sent. In addition, the procedure for carrying out a public competition provided in subsection 9 (4) of the Act currently in force is amended. It also broadens the possibilities for notifying a person of events that pose a threat to his or her life or health, by using modern information channels. Amendments related to the adoption of Euro were also introduced into the Acts. Nobody voted against the Act and nobody abstained.
 
The Official Statistics Act (739 SE), initiated by the Government, was passed with 85 votes in favour. The purpose of the Act is to distinguish official statistics more clearly from other statistics and to create a uniform legal framework for keeping official statistics. Nobody voted against the Act and nobody abstained. The Act enters into force on 1 August 2010, with the exception of some provisions, which enter into force in 2011.
 
The Act on Amendments to Acts relating to Ownership Reform (715 SE), initiated by the Government, was adopted with 50 votes in favour (715 SE). The purpose of the amendment is to solve legal and organisational problems that have emerged upon return of and compensation for unlawfully expropriated property. The Act enables local governments to terminate the relevant proceedings for the return of property and compensation proceedings. Repeal of the relevant provision of the Principles of Ownership Reform Act precludes the potential possibility to submit claims against the state or local governments in an approximate amount of EEK 100 million. 30 members of the Riigikogu voted against the Act and 1 member of the Riigikogu abstained. The Act enters into force on 1 September 2010.
 
The Riigikogu did not pass the Draft Resolution on making a proposal to the Government of the Republic (753 OE), initiated by the Estonian People’s Party. 30 members of the Riigikogu voted against the Resolution and 15 voted in favour, nobody abstained. The Draft Resolution concerned the ratification of Article 30 of the amended European Social Charter.
 
 
 
The Riigikogu Press Service
 
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