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The Riigikogu passed three Acts:
 
The Act on Amendments to the Research and Development Organisation Act (576 SE), initiated by the Government, which amends the provisions concerning the external evaluation of research and development was passed with 86 votes in favour. The Act creates a new evaluation mechanism. The new system consists of two parts: regular evaluation with the purpose of evaluating conformity of research and development of the respective field of research and development of the respective research and development institution with international criteria, and target evaluation with the purpose of in-depth analysis of a specific field, issue or target group, or of preparation of a strategic development document or another policy, or of its impact.
 
The Act on Ratification of the Agreement between the Republic of Estonia and the Isle of Man for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with Respect to Taxes on Income (590 SE), initiated by the Government, was passed with 70 votes in favour (2 abstentions). The purpose of agreements for the avoidance of double taxation is to favour investments, to ensure equal treatment of persons and to eliminate double taxation, which may occur as a result of joint influence of the Acts of two states. For the achievement of these purposes, the Agreement imposes restrictions on income taxes, which may be established to the residents of the other state by the state of the source of income. The Agreement also contributes to the creation of additional possibilities for the prevention of tax evasions.
 
The Act on Ratification of the Agreement between the Republic of Estonia and the State of Israel for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with Respect to Taxes on Income and the Protocol thereto (602 SE), initiated by the Government, was passed with 77 votes in favour. The purpose of agreements for the avoidance of double taxation is to favour investments, to ensure equal treatment of persons and to eliminate double taxation, which may occur as a result of joint influence of the Acts of two states. For the achievement of these purposes, the Agreement imposes restrictions on income taxes, which may be established to the residents of the other state by the state of the source of income. The Agreement also contributes to the creation of additional possibilities for the prevention of tax evasions. Estonia has already concluded the agreements for the avoidance of double taxation with Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Iceland, the Czech Republic, Canada, Ukraine, Germany, Belarus, the Netherlands, Italy, France, Ireland, the United States of America, Moldova, China, Kazakhstan, Belgium, Austria, Armenia, Malta, Croatia, Switzerland, Hungary, Portugal, Turkey, Spain, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Luxembourg, Georgia, Singapore, Greece, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria and Macedonia.
 
The Riigikogu concluded the second reading of ten Bills:
 
The Police and Border Guard Act Implementation Bill (519 SE), initiated by the Government, introduces substantial and technical amendments to Acts arising from the Police and Border Guard Act.
 
The Bailiffs Bill (462 SE), initiated by the Government, raises the sustainable level of the office of bailiff and administrator, and the efficiency of execution and bankruptcy proceedings. The Bill replaces the candidate service of bailiff and the office of substitute bailiff with the regulated office of bailiff’s assistant. The provisions concerning limitation period which have created confusion in legal practice are specified.
 
The second legislative proceeding of the Act on Amendments to the Defence Forces Service Act and Other Acts (535 UA) which the President of the Republic refused to proclaim. On the motion of the National Defence Committee, clause 1 7), contested by the President, will be omitted from the Act. In the President’s opinion, it is in conflict with the Constitution because restriction of the fundamental rights of conscripts is delegated to the Defence Forces and is thereby excluded from the scope of application of the Act.
 
The purpose of the Aliens Bill (537 SE), initiated by the Government, is above all to improve legal clarity. As a result of the fact that the Act which is currently in force has been amended for 48 times, the legislation currently in force has become vague for many subjects of law. Within the framework of drafting of the new consolidated text, the regulation of the entry of aliens into Estonia, temporary stay, residence and employment of aliens in Estonia and departure of aliens from Estonia, as well as procedural issues and the legal liability was organised and restructured. The Bill does not introduce any essential amendments in the law concerning aliens which is currently in force.
 
The Bill on Amendments to § 197 of the Defence Forces Service Act (545 SE), initiated by the National Defence Committee, discusses the bases for calculating the pension of retired members of the Defence Forces and reservists.
 
The Bill on Amendments to the Alcohol, Tobacco, Fuel and Electricity Excise Duty Act (585 SE), initiated by the Government, which raises excise duty rates of alcohol, tobacco, fuel and electricity. The Bill raises alcohol excise duty by 10 per cent as of 1 January 2010 and tobacco excise duty by 20 per cent as of 1 January 2011. In the second reading, the Finance Committee initiated a voting on an amendment to the Bill by which the excise duty of motor fuel would be raised by approximately 6.2 per cent, excise specifications for diesel fuel marked with a fiscal marker would be reduced and the electricity excise duty would be raised by 2 cents per kW. The Estonian Centre Party Faction and the Social Democratic Party Faction moved to suspend the second reading of the Bill. The motion was not supported. The result of voting: 28 votes in favour, 51 against.
 
The Bill on Amendments to the Income Tax Act and Associated Act (586 SE & 553 SE),initiated by the Government, the Estonian Centre Party Faction and the Social Democratic Party Faction, cancels the reduction of the income tax rate and increase of the basic exemption rate provided in the Act which is currently in force. Thus, income tax rate is fixed to 21 per cent as established for 2009 and basic exemption is fixed to 27 000 kroons.
 
The Bill on Amendments to the Estonian Academy of Sciences Act (588 SE), initiated by the Government, amends the status of members and organisation of management of the Academy. The composition of membership is specified, organisation of determining academicians’ remuneration is amended and organisation of establishing the institutions of the Academy is amended.
 
The Bill on Amendments to the Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Prevention Act and Associated Acts (589 SE), initiated by the Government, brings the regulations of the Act into conformity with international standards and ensures improved legal certainty of the activities of the Financial Intelligence Unit and the Financial Supervision Authority.
 
The Bill on Amendments to the Infectious Animal Disease Control Act and the Veterinary Activities Organisation Act (600 SE), initiated by the Government, provides a better legal basis for the prevention and control of infectious animal disease which is provided with greater precision in the infectious animal disease control rules and the contingency plan for the control of infectious animal diseases. It also extends the opportunities for implementation of the animal disease control programme in accordance with the principles of the animal health strategy for the European Union (2007–2013). At the same time, it updates definitions in the Act and the requirements for sending of animals to a slaughterhouse and for the further handling of animals, and provides more specific principles of payment of compensation for damage caused by infectious animal diseases. The Bill is in conformity with the legislation of the European Union regulating the prevention and control of infectious animal disease.
 
On the motion of the Cultural Affairs Committee, the second reading of the Basic Schools and Upper Secondary Schools Bill (412 SE), initiated by the Government, was suspended.
 
On the motion of the Economic Affairs Committee, the second reading of the European Union Services Directive Implementation Bill (603 SE), initiated by the Government, was suspended.
 
On the motion of the Rural Affairs Committee, the second reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Food Act and the State Fees Act (608 SE), initiated by the Government, was suspended.
 
The Riigikogu concluded the first reading of five Bills:
 
the Bill on Ratification of Amendments to the Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context and the Protocol on Strategic Environmental Assessment (601 SE), initiated by the Government;
 
the Bill on Amendments to the Forensic Examination Act, the Code of Criminal Procedure, the Code of Civil Procedure and the Establishment of Cause of Death Act (606 SE), initiated by the Government;
 
the Bill on Amendments to the Foreign Service Act (619 SE), initiated by the Government;
 
the Bill on Amendments to the Public Transport Act (623 SE), initiated by the Government;
 
the Bill on Amendments to the Electricity Market Act (605 SE), initiated by the Government.
 
At Question Time, Prime Minister Andrus Ansip answered the question about fiscal policy, submitted by Kadri Simson, and the question about the expenditure on human capital planned in the coming year’s state budget, submitted by Mai Treial. The Minister of Education and Research Tõnis Lukas answered the question about the Basic Schools and Upper Secondary Schools Act, submitted by Peeter Kreitzberg, and the question about school reform, submitted by Mailis Reps.
 
The sitting ended at 11.22 p.m.
 
The Riigikogu Press Service
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