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Riigikogu

On Wednesday, the Riigikogu passed four Acts, three Bills passed the second reading and three Bills passed the first reading.

The Riigikogu passed with 65 votes in favour (1 abstention) the Act on Compensation for Damage Caused in Offence Procedure (635 SE), initiated by the Constitutional Committee, which specifies and simplifies the procedure under which persons who have suffered damage due to taking into custody, exclusion from office or seizure of property without justification receive compensation from the state.

The Act on Compensation for Damage Caused in Offence Procedure establishes a regulation for compensating for damage to persons who have suffered moral or material damage in an offence procedure. The precondition for the compensation for damage is that the person has been the subject of a final acquittal by a court, or criminal proceedings with regard to him or her have been terminated. In addition, damage is subject to compensation in the event of a judgment of conviction when the measure applied with regard to the person is more burdensome than the punishment imposed on him or her, and also in the case when the body conducting proceedings wrongfully violates the procedural law and thereby causes damage to the person.

The bases for compensation include cases e.g. where a person has been taken into custody, detained as a suspect or excluded from office, a prohibition from departing from his or her residence has been imposed on him or her, or his or her property has been seized or taken away. In order to receive compensation, actual damage must have been incurred by the person, and a causal relationship between the damage and the abovementioned measures must be present.

According to the new regulation, the compensation for damage takes place within the framework of the same proceedings. This means that a victim will no longer need to turn to an administrative court to initiate a new court action but the receiving of the compensation will be settled in the county court within the framework of the same proceedings.

During the proceedings on the Act, the Constitutional Committee specified the provisions concerning the compensation for degradation of human dignity, and the admittance of an error and apologising. The Act will enter into force on 1 May next year.

The Riigikogu approved with 49 votes in favour and 34 votes against the Act on Amendments to the Preschool Child Care Institutions Act (641 SE), initiated by the Government, which allows for more flexible child care opportunities. According to the amendments, the local government would have the right to offer a parent of a child of one and a half up to three years of age a child care place instead of kindergarten. In that case, the cost-sharing in the monthly fee will be equal to that of kindergarten, a maximum of 20 per cent of the minimum wage. If the parent does not agree to the child care place, the local government will continue to have the obligation to guarantee a place in kindergarten for the child.

The Act enters into force on 1 January 2015, except for the provisions concerning the internal rules and the staff of child care institutions which will enter into force as of the new academic year, that is, on 1 September 2015.

Lauri Luik, Eldar Efendijev, Andrus Saare and Jaak Allik took the floor on behalf of factions during the debate.

The Riigikogu passed with 79 votes in favour the Act on Amendments to the Sports Act and the Administrative Co-operation Act (722 SE), initiated by the Government, which establishes the legal basis for the support for payment of remuneration to coaches. Upon the entry into force of the Act, sports clubs, sports schools and sports federations will have the possibility to apply for support from the state budget. Starting from the next year, the state will compensate the remuneration of the 5th-7th category youth coaches according to the 50:50 principle, which means that one half of the salary funds will come from the state and the other half will be contributed by the sports federation, school or club. Support for coaches can be asked for training young people of up to 24 years of age.

Lauri Luik, Erki Nool, Jüri Ratas and Tatjana Jaanson took the floor on behalf of factions during the debate.

The Riigikogu approved with 54 votes in favour the Act 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 following Bills passed the second reading:

The Bill on Amendments to the State Borders Act, the Customs Act and the Police and Border Guard Act (701 SE), initiated by the Government. The aim of the Bill is to ensure more effective and purposeful organisation of border control. On the proposal of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Constitutional Committee made four motions to amend, the most important of which will enable the Government to establish a temporary border line. The plenary assembly of the Riigikogu approved this motion to amend in the course of the second reading.

The Bill on Amendments to the Performing Arts Institutions Act and the National Opera Act (709 SE), initiated by the Government. The Bill amends the regulations concerning the conclusion of employment contracts with persons engaged in creative activities.

The Child Protection Bill (677 SE), initiated by the Government. In the course of the drafting of the Bill, the major issues relating to ensuring the protection of the rights and welfare of the child had been mapped. Various international and national studies and analyses concerning the issue of the protection of the rights and welfare of the child had been analysed for that purpose. The Bill is intended to create in the society an environment which values children and promotes the development of children. The Bill provides that children in circumstances endangering their health and wellbeing must be ensured timely and relevant assistance and care in accordance with the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and other relevant legislation. The drafting of the Bill had been based on the protection of the interests of the child in the best way, the need to develop the national organisation of child protection and to enhance state supervision, and to improve the quality of the child protection work of local governments. 

11 motions to amend the Bill had been submitted to the Social Affairs Committee, the majority of which were supported by the Committee. Among other things, the Committee supported the motion to amend which stresses the importance of the family in the development and upbringing of a child, as well as the motion concerning professional standards. The Committee also supports the provision which allows a child to be temporarily removed from the family for up to 72 hours in the event of a threat to the child, on the basis of a decision of the local government. So far, a 48-hour limit is applied. In practice, in such cases, an application for separation of the child from the family by way of initial legal protection is submitted to the court within three working days. 

Etti Kagarov who presented the Bill on behalf of the Social Affairs Committee was asked very many questions.

Läbirääkimistel osalesid: Liisa-Ly Pakosta, Mailis Reps, Heljo Pikhof, Priit Sibul, Mihhail Stalnuhhin, Kaia Iva, Erki Nool, Jaak Aaviksoo and Annely Akkermann took part in the debate.

Besides criticism, the speakers pointed out that the aim of bringing before the Riigikogu a new Child Protection Act, to replace the one dating from 1993, must be welcomed.

The Pro Patria and Res Publica Union Faction and the Estonian Centre Party Faction moved to suspend the second reading of the Bill. The motion was not supported: 30 were in favour and 42 against, thus the second reading of the Bill was concluded.

The following Bills passed the first reading:

Bill on Amendments to the Professions Act (743 SE), initiated by the Government. The Bill creates possibilities for the establishment of a coordination system for the monitoring and forecast of labour force needs and for skills development, and eliminates the problems that have arisen in the implementation of the Act. The coordination system is necessary in order that the need for skills in the labour market could be better taken into account in the shaping of the content of trainings and offering or commissioning trainings. The implementation problems of the Professions Act are mostly connected with a certain inconsistency in the concepts used, the vagueness in giving schools the rights of an awarder of professions, and the uncertainty of the procedures for the formation of professional councils and the supervision regulation

The Minister of Education and Research Jevgeni Ossinovski who presented the Bill said that, on the one hand, a coordinating body would be launched according to this Act, who would begin to organise the coordination of the work skills in Estonia, and the commissioning from the education system. “On the other hand, the skills coordination system will make available information about the key posts needed on the labour market and about the skills critical to the persons who are planning their career,” he continued.

The deadline for motions to amend is 19 November 2014.

Bill on Amendments to the Liquid Fuel Act and the Ambient Air Protection Act (675 SE), initiated by the Government. The aim of the Bill is to harmonise the relevant EU directive on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources and amending and subsequently repealing the related Directives. The Bill harmonises the requirements related to the increase of the share of biofuel used in transport. The Bill will also improve the possibilities of organising effective state supervision on liquid fuel market.

The Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure Urve Palo who presented the Bill said that the European Union climate targets had been reset again very recently, and therefore the Minister considers it expedient to take time out with the setting of the requirements for biofuels supply in the Liquid Fuel Act and to review the mechanisms for the implementation of the new requirements. “In this connection I am going to make an amendment proposal after the first reading, where I am going to withdraw this part of the Bill, in order to review it and adapt it to today’s situation and then to submit it again in a new form in the future,” Minister Palo said.

During the debate, Aivar Riisalu took the floor on behalf of the Pro Patria and Res Publica Union Faction. The Faction moved to suspend the first reading of the Bill. The motion failed to receive sufficient support – five members of the Riigikogu voted in favour and 26 voted against.

The deadline for motions to amend is 19 November 2014.

Bill on the Ratification of the Annex “European Communities and their Member States – Consolidated Schedule of Specific Commitments” to the World Trade Organization General Agreement on Trade in Services (707 SE), initiated by the Government. The Bill will approve the updated Consolidated Schedule of Specific Commitments on services of the European Communities and their Member States, including Estonia, arising from the EU expansion in 2004 and agreements with the affected members of the WTO. Upon accession to the WTO, countries make binding commitments regarding trade in services according to the rules provided in the WTO General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS).

The deadline for motions to amend is 12 November 2014.

The verbatim record of the sitting (in Estonian).

Istung lõppes kell 18:15

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