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The Riigikogu passed two Acts and a Resolution:
The Act on Amendments to the Act on Amendments to the Code of Criminal Procedure and Other Acts (123 SE), initiated by the Legal Affairs Committee, which changes the deadline for the entry into force of this Act and postpones it by one year with the entry into force on 1 January 2013, was passed with 85 votes in favour. The Chancellor of Justice has ascertained that some provisions of the Code are in conflict with the Constitution. The Ministry of Justice is preparing a Bill for bringing these provisions into conformity with the Constitution.
The Act on Amendments to the Police and Border Guard Act, the Rescue Act, the Rescue Service Act and Other Acts arising from Reorganisation of Agencies (116 SE), initiated by the Government, which provides reorganisation of the local agencies of the Rescue Board and their merge with the Rescue Board, the establishing of an alarm centre, and reorganisation of prefectures into regional structural units of the Police and Border Guard Board as of 1 January 2012, was passed with 52 votes in favour (36 against). The Act makes the legislative amendments necessary for merging the local agencies of the Rescue Board (rescue centres) with the Rescue Board and merging prefectures with the Police and Border Guard Board as of 1 January 2012.
The Resolution of the Riigikogu “Appointment of an Auditor for Supervising the Activities of the State Audit Office in 2011” (135 OE), submitted by the Finance Committee, which appoints Indrek Alliksaar, Auditor of KPMG Baltics Plc, who has also audited the economic activities of the State Audit Office in the last two years, to supervise the activities of the State Audit Office in 2011, was passed with 68 votes in favour.
The Director General of the Estonian Competition Authority Märt Ots, a partner of Baltic Energy Partners OÜ Peeter Pikk and member of the Social Democratic Party Faction Urve Palo made reports at the deliberation of the matter of significant national importance “Electricity price”.
Ots explained that an EU directive determines that the price of electricity production and sale must develop under the conditions of the free market, and that imposes an obligation to apply price regulation to natural monopolies, that is, power networks. At the same time, there are several specifications, such as allowing the subsidising of the electricity produced from renewable energy sources as a universal service for household customers and small enterprises. At present, in the closed market, the price for consumers has been approved by the Estonian Competition Authority. As of 1 January 2013, the price will develop under the conditions of the free market and the state will have no opportunities to regulate the price.
Pikk gave an overview of the electricity price in the context of the open market. He noted that Estonia cannot influence the market price with its energy policy. It can however focus on the rules on cross-border trade with third countries, the network charges and taxation, and supply security. Pikk stated that a rise of the electricity price is inevitable in Estonia. No industry can work below total costs for a long time. It is not reasonable to develop energy in reliance on supports only. Pikk stressed that extension of the market area and energy cooperation enable to establish a more optimal energy system than would be possible by doing everything on one’s own. He underlined that cooperation with the Nordic and Baltic countries is of utmost importance. In Pikk’s words, increasing the general energy efficiency of the economy is the best energy policy in the context of the market.
Palo explained that the state wants Estonia’s energetic independence and electricity at an affordable price at the same time. The most important development plans of the Estonian energy sector have set the objective of ensuring continuous, sustainable and affordable power supply for Estonian residents, guaranteeing the energetic independence of Estonia with oil shale energy, and reducing the environmental impacts of the mining and use of oil shale. Palo stated that unfortunately this objective cannot be fully realised. She noted that, on the open electricity market, the state cannot guarantee that Estonian customers are supplied with national electric power only. In Palo’s opinion, at present, the price in Estonia’s closed electricity market is nearly 45% lower than that in the open market in Estonia’s price area of Nord Pool Spot. In Palo’s view, one way, amongst others, to mitigate the forthcoming price rise (approximately 16%) is to lower the electricity excise duty but also to increase the independence and rights of the Estonian Competition Authority. In Palo’s words, the processes in the energy market are so complex and in many respects so opaque that no one else is able to assess as to what extent price rises are motivated by the investment need, energy companies’ desire for additional profit, or wrong management decisions. In Palo’s opinion, only the Competition Authority can assess it impartially.
Kalle Palling, Toomas Tõniste, Lembit Kaljuvee and Mihhail Stalnuhhin took the floor during the debate.
The Riigikogu concluded the first reading of one Bill:
The Restrictions on Acquisition of Immovables Bill (108 SE), initiated by the Estonian Reform Party Faction and the Pro Patria and Res Publica Union Faction, reduces the restrictions on the acquisition of agricultural land and forest for residents of the Contracting States of the European Economic Area as well as OECD member states, in comparison to the current regulation, preserving however national defence and security restrictions on transfer on small islands and border areas in respect of states not members of the EEA. The Bill provides equal conditions for the acquisition of agricultural or forest land in Estonia for residents of the Contracting States of the EEA and OECD member states. A Bill with a similar content (54 SE) has been in the legislative proceeding of the Riigikogu earlier. The Government as the initiator withdrew it from the legislative proceeding on 10 October.
Due to the end of the working hours of the sitting of the plenary assembly, the first reading of the Restrictions on Acquisition of Immovables Bill (110 SE), initiated by the Estonian Centre Party Faction and the Social Democratic Party Faction, was adjourned and it will be resumed at the sitting on Tuesday, 13 December.
The Riigikogu Press Service