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Riigikogu

December 19, 2007

The Riigikogu passed six Acts and three Resolutions:

The Act on Amendments to § 40 of the National Defence League Act (92 SE), initiated by the Government, which changes the deadlines provided for in the National Defence League Act in order to facilitate completion of the process of transfer of property which is to be transferred to the ownership of the National Defence League, was passed with 84 votes in favour (1 abstention). Meeting of current deadlines has proven impossible, the returning of property to the National Defence League being a time-consuming process.

The Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Prevention Act Amendment Act (137 SE), initiated by the Government, which updates the regulation relating to money laundering and terrorism prevention and takes account of the changes brought along by the rapid technological development as well as the transfer of criminal transactions to the high-speed global cyberspace, was passed with 83 votes in favour.

The Decorations Act (134 SE), initiated by the Government, which simplifies the procedure for bestowal of decorations, was passed with 81 votes in favour (1 against, 1 abstention). The Committee on Decorations is liquidated and the right to make proposals is extended to everyone, including institutions, without any quota being established. The restriction on access to proposals for a specified term is established. The Office of the President of the Republic will be responsible for organising the administrative issues relating to decorations. The regulation of withdrawal of decorations and applying for the miniature of a decoration and an additional rosette badge is added. The Act harmonises the descriptions and establishes the reference standards for decorations. Pursuant to the Act, the Collar of the Order of the National Coat of Arms is going to be bestowed on the President of the Republic in the future.

The Alimony Act Amendment Act (156 SE), initiated by the Estonian Reform Party Faction, the Pro Patria and Res Publica Union Faction and the Social Democratic Party Faction, which eliminates problems relating to the implementation of the Alimony Act with a view to preventing the potential ambiguity upon implementation of the Act, was passed with 83 votes in favour.

The Act on Amendments to the Social Benefits for Disabled Persons Act and Associated Acts (159 SE), initiated by the Government, which provides an increase of the benefits for disabled persons of working age by 30 per cent, was passed with 80 votes in favour. The monthly benefit will be calculated as a percentage of the rate of social benefits for disabled persons, equalling to 210 per cent in event of a profound disability, 140 per cent in event of a severe disability and 65 per cent in event of a moderate disability. The rate of social benefits for disabled persons is 400 kroons in 2008. Thus, people of working age are going to receive 840 kroons in event of a profound disability, 560 kroons in event of a severe disability and 260 kroons in event of a moderate disability.

The Act on Approval of the Agreement on the Privileges and Immunities of the International Atomic Energy Agency (138 SE), initiated by the Government, which fills a procedural gap on the national scale, was passed with 69 votes in favour. Estonia signed the Agreement and is party thereto already since 12 February 1992. The ratification of the Agreement invests the Atomic Energy Agency with the legal capacity necessary for the performance of its functions, and the privileges and immunities necessary for the independent performance of its functions on the territories of Member States.

The Resolution of the Riigikogu “Use of the Estonian Defence Forces in Performance of International Duties of the Estonian State in the Composition of the Nordic Battle Group of the European Union” (140 OE), submitted by the Government, was passed with 81 votes in favour. The concept of the European Union battle groups was approved in June 2004. A battle group is a tactical unit with the size of a battalion which is reinforced by battle support and battle service elements. According to the concept of battle groups, the battle groups are to be ready to respond within 15 days, of which five days are intended for making decisions after the approval of the draft crisis management plan by the European Union and ten days for sending of the units to the operations area. Based on the concept, the EU has the capability to organise two simultaneous operations as of 2007. Battle groups are in readiness for six-month periods and by two battle groups at a time. The tasks of the battle groups include humanitarian and rescue operations, peacekeeping operations and crisis prevention. As a battle group can start an operation immediately before the end of the half-year readiness period, a Defence Forces Unit will need a one-year mandate for participation in a potential mission, which would cover the time of the readiness period, the operation and the return from operation. Therefore, the mandate provides the potential of use of a Defence Forces Unit of up to 55 members in the period of time from 1 January to 31 December 2008.

The Resolution of the Riigikogu “Extension of the Time Limit of the Use of the Estonian Defence Forces in Performance of International Duties of the Estonian State under the International Peacekeeping Mission in Kosovo” (143 OE), submitted by the Government, which provides the extension of the time limit of the use of the Estonian Defence Forces in the performance of international duties of the Estonian state under the international peacekeeping mission in Kosovo by one year as of 1 January 2008 when the mandate of the Riigikogu which is the basis for the current operation is terminating, was passed with 80 votes in favour.

The Resolution of the Riigikogu “Extension of the Time Limit of the Use of the Estonian Defence Forces in Performance of International Duties of the Estonian State under the International Security Assistance Mission in Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and Iraq” (144 OE), submitted by the Government, which provides the extension of the mandate of members of the Estonian Defence Forces until 31 December 2008, pursuant to the UN Security Council resolution, was passed with 53 votes in favour (29 against).

The Riigikogu concluded the second reading of five Bills:

Bill on Export and Import of Cultural Valuables (78 SE), initiated by the Government;

Bill on Amendments to the Precious Metal Articles Act (93 SE), initiated by the Government; 

Bill on Amendments to the Health Care Services Organisation Act and Associated Acts (146 SE), initiated by the Government;

Bill on Amendments to the Alcohol, Tobacco, Fuel and Electricity Excise Duty Act (168 SE), initiated by the Estonian Reform Party Faction, the Pro Patria and Res Publica Union Faction and the Social Democratic Party Faction;

Bill on Amendments to the Persons Repressed by Occupying Powers Act (162 SE), initiated by the Social Democratic Party Faction, the Estonian Reform Party Faction and the Pro Patria Res Publica Union Faction.

The Riigikogu concluded the first reading of two Bills:

Bill on Amendments to the Trading Act, the Register of Economic Activities Act and Associated Acts (150 SE), initiated by the Government;

Bill on Amendments to the Penal Code (166 SE), initiated by the Government.

The Riigikogu rejected two Bills at the first reading:

On the motion of the Economic Affairs Committee, the Bill on Amendments to the Advertising Act (128 SE), initiated by the Estonian Centre Party Faction, was rejected. The result of voting: 53 votes in favour, 38 against.

On the motion of the Finance Committee, the Bill on Amendments to § 15 of the Income Tax Act (123 SE), initiated by the Estonian Centre Party Faction, was rejected. The result of voting: 55 votes in favour, 28 votes against, 1 abstention.

At Question Time, the Minister of Economic Affairs and Communications Juhan Parts answered questions about subsidies to public transport, the Estonian Post and apartment associations. The Minister of Defence Jaak Aaviksoo answered the question about participation in international missions. The Minister of Interior Affairs Jüri Pihl answered questions about the Lohusuu Cordon, rescue service and transit.

The verbatim record of the sitting (in Estonian) is available at: https://www.riigikogu.ee/?op=steno

The Riigikogu Press Service

 

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