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Riigikogu

On Wednesday, the Riigikogu passed with 59 votes in favour the Act on Amendments to the Copyright Act (697 SE), initiated by the Government. Nobody voted against and nobody abstained. The Act gives memory institutions the possibility to make available to the public and to reproduce the works and phonograms that have been found to be orphan works and belong to the collections of memory institutions.
 

The Riigikogu passed with 57 votes in favour the Act on the Ratification of the Convention between the Republic of Estonia and the Kingdom of Morocco for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with respect to Taxes on Income (710 SE), initiated by the Government. Nobody voted against and nobody abstained. The aim of the conventions is to facilitate investments between Contracting States. As an international legal act, the Convention grants greater legal certainty to investors, as compared with a national legislative act, in regard to these elements of the tax system that are regulated by the Convention, because amendment of a bilateral international convention is generally more time-consuming than amendment of a national legislative act. For the achievement of these purposes, the Convention imposes restrictions on income taxes which may be established to the residents of the other state by the state of the source of income, ensures equal treatment of persons and eliminates possible double taxation. The obligation of mutual exchange of information provided for in the Convention will create additional possibilities for prevention of tax evasions.

The following Bills passed the second reading:

The Bill on Amendments to § 42 of the Basic Schools and Upper Secondary Schools Act (689 SE), initiated by the Government. The Bill will guarantee that rural municipalities and cities (owners of municipal schools) and owners of private schools will receive support for covering the expense of school lunch also as regards upper secondary school stage students. The Bill extends the payment of school lunch support to upper secondary school students, in addition to basic school students.

Etti Kagarov took the floor during the debate and said that, according to the Bill, more than 22500 upper secondary school students would be equal to basic school and vocational school students who already have the right to free school lunch. “3.1 million euro are planned for that in the state budget,” she added. Barbi Pilvre and Liisa-Ly Pakosta, Tarmo Tamm, Lauri Luik and Mailis Reps also took the floor during the debate.

The Bill on Amendments to the Identity Documents Act and the State Fees Act (699 SE), initiated by the Government. The Bill amends the Identity Documents Act as regards the issue of a digital identity card to a person who is not an Estonian citizen or an Estonian resident who is an alien. In the interests of legal clarity, it is expedient to amend the Act and to establish a regulation for the issue of a digital identity card to e-residents, for the exercise of supervision over the lawfulness of the use thereof, and for the suspension of the validity and the revocation thereof. The establishment of the digital ID of e-residents will contribute to the involvement of aliens residing in foreign states in the development of the economy, research and education and IT-environment of Estonia, and to make Estonia who offers a unique solution in the world an attractive economic, research and education environment.   

The Riigikogu approved the motions to amend according to which the Act would enter into force as of 1 December this year instead of the earlier 1 November. The Committee also decided to support the motions to amend according to which a digital identity card to e-resident can be issued also without an application of the person by a directive of the Minister of Internal Affairs in case of substantial public interest.

The deadline for motions to amend is 29 October.

The following Bills passed the first reading:

The Bill on Amendments to the Military Service Act, the Military Service Act Implementation Act and the Health Services Organisation Act (721 SE), initiated by the Government. The aim of the Bill is to increase the social and psychological well-being and satisfaction of persons who have chosen the profession of active serviceman. The aim of the Bill is to support the active servicemen who have participated in international military operations in preparing for a civilian career and, in case of injuries, also in preparing for a change of specialty within the Defence Forces.

Lauri Laasi and Neeme Suur took the floor during the debate. The deadline for motions to amend is 29 October.

The Bill on Amendments to the Placing Orders for Works of Art Act (735 SE), initiated by the Government. The Bill amends the regulation relating to the placing of orders for works of art. It specifies the circumstances relating to the creation of the obligation to place orders for works of art and the practice relating to carrying out the competition for placing orders for works of art. Also possibilities to merge competitions under certain conditions, the obligations of the jury, and the requirements for exhibiting and preserving works of art for which orders have been placed. The Bill does not change the principles of and limits to placing orders for works of art.

The deadline for motions to amend is 29 October.

The Bill on Amendments to the Study Allowances and Study Loans Act and Amendments to Other Associated Acts (728 SE), initiated by the Government. The aim of the Bill is to amend the Act by adding a new type of study allowance and to increase the flexibility of the requirements for application for the current needs-based study allowance. The new needs-based study allowances system is based on the economic needs of students and concerns only the students with a family whose economic situation does not allow to ensure access to higher education and sufficient support to participate in higher education studies to them. It has been stressed since the needs-based study allowance was designed that the aim of the allowance is to support and facilitate acquisition of higher education by young people from families with permanently lower incomes.    

Jaak Allik took the floor during the debate. The deadline for motions to amend is 29 October.

The Bill on Amendments to the Social Tax Act and the Health Insurance Act (729 SE), initiated by the Government. The aim of the Bill is to resolve some of the problems affecting the effectiveness of Doctoral study and to ensure the social insurance for doctoral students which is lacking at present. With the amendment to the Social Tax Act, an additional type of individually registered social tax will be added to the tax system. According to the amendment, the state will begin to pay social tax for persons who receive Doctoral allowance under the conditions provided for in the Study Allowances and Study Loans Act. Social tax will not be paid for periods when the doctoral student does not receive the allowance. According to the amendments, doctoral students will be guaranteed that the amounts paid as social tax will be shown in the state pension insurance register and they will be taken into account in calculation of pension. When the Bill enters into force, Doctoral allowance and the amounts of social tax paid thereon will also be included in the calculation of parental benefit. The Health Insurance Act is specified based on the amendments to the Social Tax Act in order to avoid a situation where the state guarantees health insurance cover for doctoral students who receive Doctoral allowance by paying social tax on the allowance as well as through the health insurance budget.     

The deadline for motions to amend is 29 October.

The Bill on the Ratification of the Association Agreement between the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community and their Member States, of the One Part, and Ukraine, of the Other Part (714 SE), initiated by the Government. The Association Agreement aims to accelerate the deepening of political and economic relations between Ukraine and the EU, as well as Ukraine’s gradual integration in the EU Internal Market. Setting up a free trade area will contribute greatly to that. As regards trade, the aim is to conclude an agreement that would lead to elimination of customs duties on imports between the EU and Ukraine in trade. In addition, the Association Agreement serves as the basis for the reform plan for Ukraine with a view to contributing to the implementation of the principles of the rule of law, democracy, human rights and free market economy. The EU aid to Ukraine is also connected with the reform plan, and the Association Agreement will allow the partners of Ukraine to better direct their aid.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Paet who presented the Bill said that the aim of the Agreement is to help Ukraine to implement reforms in economy, public administration, legal protection and judiciary, the fight against corruption, and many other fields. “According to this Agreement, the European Union will help Ukraine in the implementation of these reforms, including in the approximation of Ukrainian legislation to EU law. For that, there is a separate implementation programme of the Association Agreement. The enforcement of the free trade area which is part of the Association Agreement will also ensure, as I said, greater access to the European market, the European Union market for Ukrainian enterprises and vice versa, and will also facilitate mutual investments. Ukraine has ratified this Agreement by now, it was done on 16 September,” Paet said.

Six of the European Union countries have ratified this Agreement by now – Bulgaria, Romania, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta and Slovakia – and in many countries the ratification process is under way.

Barbi Pilvre took the floor during the debate. The deadline for motions to amend is 17 October.

The Bill on the Ratification of the Association Agreement between the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community and their Member States, of the One Part, and Georgia, of the Other Part (705 SE), initiated by the Government. The Association Agreement constitutes a new stage in the development of EU-Georgia contractual relations, aiming at political association and economic integration and leaving open the way for further progressive developments.

The deadline for motions to amend is 17 October.

The Bill on the Ratification of the Association Agreement between the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community and their Member States, of the One Part, and the Republic of Moldova, of the Other Part (706 SE), initiated by the Government. The Association Agreement aims to accelerate the deepening of political and economic relations between the Republic of Moldova and the EU, as well as to advance the Republic of Moldova’s gradual economic integration with the EU Internal Market.

The deadline for motions to amend is 17 October.

The Bill on Amendments to the State Funeral Benefits Act (726 SE), initiated by the Government. The aim of the Bill is to support economically unprivileged persons by restoration of payment of the state funeral benefit. However, the payment will not be restored for everybody, but only for those who belong to the family who received subsistence benefit within the meaning of the Social Welfare Act. Thus funeral benefit will be paid only to those who presumably are unable to, or for whom, owing to their economic situation, it is difficult to bear the funeral expenses. Deprivation will be established on the basis of the receiving of subsistence benefit.

The Minister of Social Protection Helmen Kütt who presented the Bill said before the Riigikogu that, at present, the amount of funeral benefit that local governments can apply for is 191,74 euro, but according to this Bill, the amount would be 250 euro as of 1 January 2015. The payment of funeral benefit was terminated in 2009.

Margus Tsahkna and Viktor Vassiljev took part in the debate. The deadline for motions to amend is 29 October.

The Bill on Amendments to the State Family Benefits Act (727 SE), initiated by the Government. The Bill raises the foster care allowance to 240 euro per month. Under the current State Family Benefits Act, foster care allowance is paid at twenty times the child allowance rate which is 191.80 euro. Consequently, foster care allowance will rise by 48.20 euro per month. In addition to foster care allowance, child allowance is also paid for a child. Thus, together with the rise of the allowance provided for in the Bill, a total of at least 285 euro will be paid as family benefits for a child if guardianship has been established for him or her or a foster care contract has been entered into with respect to him or her. Depending on the structure of the family and the age of children, the amount of family benefits can be higher.

The deadline for motions to amend is 29 October.

The Bill on the Ratification of the Eurocontrol International Convention relating to Co-operation for the Safety of Air Navigation, as Amended by Protocol of 1981, and the Multilateral Agreement relating to Route Charges (739 SE), initiated by the Government. The general aim of the Convention is to enhance international cooperation, including in particular civil and military cooperation in the organisation of air traffic in Europe, thereby increasing the safety, efficiency and expeditious flow of air traffic in European airspace. Eurocontrol as organisation was established for the achievement of this general aim of the Convention. The Convention was initially concluded by six states, and 40 states have acceded to it by today, whereby Eurocontrol has expanded into a trans-European organisation. All European Union member states except Estonia have acceded to the Convention.

The deadline for motions to amend is 22 October.

The Bill on Amendments to the Code of Civil Procedure and Amendments to Other Associated Acts (718 SE), initiated by the Government. The Bill introduces amendments and specifications of technical nature to the current law. The certificate of the effects of the recognition and the extent of a protection measure will be issued by the county court who ordered the protection measure. According to the Bill, the certificate will be rectified on the same bases and pursuant to the same procedure as in the case of Estonian court decisions. If the certificate was clearly wrongly granted, it may be withdrawn by the county court who issued the certificate. Official documents of foreign states recognised by the Estonian court and declared to be subject to enforcement or subject to compulsory enforcement without recognition are also included in the list of enforcement instrument. Amendments to the State Fees Act establish a uniform rule regarding state fees as regards the issue of certificates or confirmations under European Union regulations for recognition and enforcement in other European Union Member States of all Estonian court decisions in civil matters and other enforcement instruments. The amendments to the Code of Administrative Court Procedure and the Code of Civil Procedure will eliminate the unreasonable situation for courts in connection with electronic delivery of summons and reopening of proceedings.

The deadline for motions to amend is 29 October.

At the beginning of the sitting, the member of the Riigikogu Innar Mäesalu took the oath of office.

The sitting ended at 5.52 p.m.

The verbatim record of the sitting (in Estonian).

 

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