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On the motion of the Finance Committee, the Bill on Amendments to the Value Added Tax Act (795 SE), initiated by the Estonian Centre Party Faction, was rejected at the first reading. 48 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of the motion and 36 members of the Riigikogu voted against. Thus, the Bill was dropped from the legislative proceeding.

The Bill on Amendments to the Peace-Time National Defence Act and the Defence Forces Organisation Act (805 SE), initiated by the Government, was not passed at the final voting with 49 votes in favour. The Act required a majority vote of the members of the Riigikogu, a minimum of 51 votes, to be passed. Nobody voted against and nobody abstained.
 
The Assistant Police Officers Act (633 SE), initiated by the Government, was passed with 52 votes in favour. The Act provides the rights, obligations and the sphere of activity of assistant police officers with the aim of involving persons in the activities of the police in order to protect public order and to ensure social security. An assistant police officer is a person who participates in the activities of the police as a volunteer in his or her free time on the basis and pursuant to the procedure provided by law. Assistant police officers are not police officers. The Act enters into force on 1 January 2011.
 
On the motion of the Cultural Affairs Committee, the second reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Professions Act (842 SE), initiated by the same Committee, was concluded. The Bill extends the terms for implementation of the Professions Act, that is, the transition period from the 5-degree qualification levels system to an 8-degree qualification framework until 1 January 2014. The Bill is intended to prevent paralysation of the professions system when 90% of the bodies that award professions will lose the right to operate as of 1 January 2011 or when several hundreds of professional standards will become invalid in 2011. The Bill also eliminates the vagueness in defining a national curriculum. It will be possible to grant the rights of a body that awards a profession to the educational institutions who have national curriculums. The Bill was sent to the third reading.
 
On the motion of the Constitutional Committee, the second reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Identity Documents Act and Other Acts (844 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded. The purpose of the Act is to provide in Estonian law the implementation of the European Union residence permit card with a uniform format for third-country nationals. Implementation of the residence permit card as a stand-alone document is compulsory for Estonia. The Estonian Centre Party Faction moved to suspend the second reading of the Bill. 30 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of the motion and 45 members of the Riigikogu voted against. Thus, the Bill was sent to the third reading.
 
On the motion of the Constitutional Committee, the second reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Political Parties Act and Other Associated Acts (655 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded. The purpose of the Bill is to increase the transparency of the system of the financing of political parties, election coalitions and independent candidates and of the reporting of election campaigns, and to establish rules for donations, provide the consequences of accepting prohibited donations, to grant the supervision competence to an independent supervisory body and to establish effective punishments to those who ignore the rules established by law. The Constitutional Committee also specified the principles of the formation of election coalitions in local elections and determined the status and composition of the committee who organises the financing of political parties. The Estonian Green Party Faction and the Social Democratic Party Faction moved to suspend the second reading of the Bill; 29 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour and 48 voted against. Thus, the Bill was sent to the third reading.
 
On the motion of the Economic Affairs Committee, the second reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Maritime Safety Act and Associated Acts (653 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded. The purpose of the Bill is to update the Maritime Safety Act and to bring it into conformity with the requirements of European Union legislation and international conventions. At the same time, amendments and specifications arising from practice are made in the Maritime Safety Act and other associated Acts, and the problems which have emerged in the implementation of the Maritime Safety Act which is currently in force are solved. The maritime safety requirements and liability and fines in the event of violation of the Act are specified. New sections are added to the Maritime Safety Act which provide the maritime safety management system, the classes of the maritime safety audit of shipowners and their ships and the requirements for the conduct of additional audits, nonconformities discovered in auditing, etc. Several amendments concern pilotage, the requirements for pilots and the activities of pilots as well as the handling of marine casualties. An amendment introduced to the Act during the second reading provides compulsory pilotage for tankers in the inland maritime waters and in the water area of a port. It also intends to establish several new state fees and to update the regulation concerning the raising of sunken property. The Bill was sent to the third reading.
 
On the motion of the Foreign Affairs Committee, the second reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Consular Act and Other Acts (824 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded. The purpose of the Act is to bring the Consular Act into conformity with the Civil Status Acts Act which entered into force on 1 July 2010. The acts performed by the consular officer are harmonised both in the Consular Act and in the Civil Status Acts Act. In addition, the State Fees Act and the Family Law Act are amended. The Bill was sent to the third reading.
 
On the motion of the Legal Affairs Committee, the second reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Code of Criminal Procedure and Other Associated Acts (599 SE), initiated by the Government, was suspended. The purpose of the Bill is to enhance the efficiency and economics of criminal proceedings and to ensure greater conformity with the fundamental rights of the persons concerned with the proceedings. The amendments contained in the Bill will help ensure a greater consistency of the norms regulating the different categories of court proceedings. The amendments are intended to enhance the confidence of the citizens in the current legal order and system of administration of justice. The second reading of the Bill will continue.
 
On the motion of the Finance Committee, second reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Financial Supervision Authority Act, the Investment Funds Act, the Credit Institutions Act and the Guarantee Fund Act (810 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded. The purpose of the Bill is to increase the operativeness and efficiency of exercise of financial supervision in a crisis situation. Accordingly, for example, it eliminates the unreasonable restrictions provided in the law which is currently in force which do not enable the Financial Supervision Authority to obtain necessary information from the subjects of financial supervision pursuant to the expedited procedure in so-to-say risk or crisis situations. It also provides as a significant amendment the possibility for the state to consider, upon existence of specific grounds, expropriation of a credit institution if this is necessary for securing financial stability. That, however, only in the case when this aim cannot be achieved by application of other relevant measures. The maximum amount of deposit guarantee is increased to 100 000 euro instead of the current 50 000 euro per depositor in a credit institution. This new maximum limit will apply as of the beginning of 2011. All amendments are aimed at ensuring the functioning of the Estonian financial system on regular bases, that is, its stability on a wider scale, and preventing potential financial crises. The Bill was sent to the third reading.
 
On the motion of the Finance Committee, the second reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Labour Market Services and Benefits Act and the Unemployment Insurance Act (823 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded. The Bill is intended to change the organisation of the unemployment insurance in the current Unemployment Insurance Act. According to the amendment, in the future, the employment services and labour market benefits offered to insured persons, except for the unemployment allowance, will also be financed from the collected unemployment insurance funds. For that purpose, the labour market services and benefits foundation capital will be established. The Bill was sent to the third reading.
 
On the motion of the Social Affairs Committee, the first reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Health Care Services Organisation Act (856 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded. One of the purposes of the Act is to regulate the employment opportunities of the students who are studying to become health care professionals and another purpose is to bring the current legislative regulation into conformity with the principles of the recognition of professional qualifications set out in the relevant European Parliament and Council directive. According to the principles of the said directive, a member of any profession has the right to provide services within the framework of his or her profession. The amendments provide the possibility of the students of the faculty of medicine to engage in the profession they are acquiring or in the nursing profession under the supervision of health care professionals of the same profession, outside schooling time, which should provide better preparation for their future work. It also helps to improve the quality of the health care services provided to patients and to reduce the students’ desire to go abroad. The Bill was sent to the second reading.
 
On the motion of the Environmental Committee, the first reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Forest Act (843 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded. The amendments are due to the need to increase the flexibility and transparency of the managing of state forests and to create preconditions for implementation of the digital conveyance document. The requirement of the obligatory form of the conveyance document is eliminated and the possibility to prepare a digital conveyance document is provided because observance of uniform formal requirements (or any formal requirements) simultaneously in digital conveyance documents and in conveyance documents on paper is not really viable. The Bill was sent to the second reading.
 
On the motion of the Finance Committee, the first reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Alcohol, Tobacco, Fuel and Electricity Excise Duty Act (861 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded. The purpose of the amendments is to bring the Alcohol, Tobacco, Fuel and Electricity Excise Duty Act into conformity with the Council of the European Union directive on the structure and rates of excise duty applied on manufactured tobacco. The directive raises the minimum rates of excise duties on tobacco products and specifies the definitions of tobacco products with a view to ensuring harmonised application of the excise duty. In addition to the amendments arising from the directive, the Bill extends the special conditions for operating the excise warehouse to wine production. It also specifies the conditions of excise duty exemption of fuel brought from other Member States and from non-Community countries by travellers. The Bill was sent to the second reading.
 
On the motion of the Economic Affairs Committee, the first reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Public Procurements Act and Other Associated Acts (860 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded. The purpose of the Bill is to specify the provisions of the Public Procurements Act which is currently in force, in order to clarify the regulation and to solve the problems encountered upon the implementation of the Act. The amendments concern the framework of the organisation of simple procurements, the cooperation of the public and the private sector in connection with procurement contracts entered into, submission of the terms for tenders, the rules of contracting for services contracted for pursuant to the simplified procedure, the terms for submission of report, etc. The Bill was sent to the second reading.
 
On the motion of the National Defence Committee, the first reading of the Draft Resolution “Extension of the Time Limit of the Use of the Defence Forces in Performance of International Duties of the Estonian State under the Peacekeeping Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina” (852 OE), submitted by the Government, was concluded. According to the Bill, the time limit of the use of up to three members of the Defence Forces in the mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina, led by the European Union Force (EUFOR), is extended until 31 December 2011. The Bill was sent to the second reading.
 
On the motion of the National Defence Committee, the first reading of the Draft Resolution “Extension of the Time Limit of the Use of the Defence Forces in Performance of International Duties of the Estonian State under the Peacekeeping Mission in Kosovo” (851 OE), submitted by the Government, was concluded. According to the Bill, the time limit of the use of up to three members of the Defence Forces in the membership of Kosovo Force (KFOR), led by NATO, is extended until 31 December 2011. The Bill was sent to the second reading.
 
On the motion of the National Defence Committee, the first reading of the Draft Resolution “Use of the Defence Forces in Performance of International Duties of the Estonian State in the Composition of the Nordic Battle Group of the European Union” (850 OE), submitted by the Government, was concluded. According to the Bill, up to 55 members of the Defence Forces may be used, as necessary, in a military operation organised for the purpose of maintaining or restoring peace and security in the Composition of the Nordic Battle Group of the European Union from 1 January 2011 to 31 December 2011. The Bill was sent to the second reading.
 
On the motion of the National Defence Committee, the first reading of the Draft Resolution “Extension of the Time Limit of the Use of the Defence Forces in Performance of International Duties of the Estonian State in Iraq” (849 OE), submitted by the Government, was concluded. According to the Bill, as of 1 January 2011, the time limit of the use of up to three members of the Defence Forces in the membership of the NATO Training Mission in Iraq (NTM-I) is extended until 31 December 2011. The Bill was sent to the second reading.
 
On the motion of the National Defence Committee, the first reading of the Draft Resolution “Extension of the Time Limit of the Use of the Defence Forces in Performance of the International Duties of the Estonian State in the Post-Conflict Peacekeeping Mission in Lebanon, Israel, Egypt and Syria” (848 OE), submitted by the Government, was concluded. According to the Bill, as of 1 January 2011, the time limit of the use of up to three members of the Defence Forces in the peacekeeping mission led by the UN (United Nations Truce Supervision Organization – UNTSO) is extended until 31 December 2011. The Bill was sent to the second reading.
 
On the motion of the National Defence Committee, the first reading of the Draft Resolution “Extension of the Time Limit of the Use of the Defence Forces in Performance of International Duties of the Estonian State under the Peacekeeping Mission in Afghanistan” (847 OE), submitted by the Government, was concluded. According to the Bill, as of 1 January 2011, the time limit of the use of up to 170 members of the Defence Forces in the peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan in the membership of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) led by NATO is extended until 31 December 2011. The Bill was sent to the second reading.
 
At Question Time of the Riigikogu, Prime Minister Andrus Ansip answered the question about the Government’s promises concerning the fiscal policy, submitted by Kadri Simson, Evelyn Sepp’s question about the Government’s development plans and Marika Tuus’ question about problem issues of the life in Estonia.
 
The Minister of Finance Jürgen Ligi answered Jaak Aab’s questions about the monetary policy.
 
The Minister of Internal Affairs Marko Pomerants answered Kalle Laanet’s question about the coming year’s internal security budget.
 
The sitting ended at 8 p.m.
 
See the verbatim record of the sitting (in Estonian):
 
 
The Riigikogu Press Service
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