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The first readings of the Bill on Amendments to § 36 of the Nature Conservation Act (918 SE) and the Bill on Amendments to § 57 of the Environmental Charges Act (919 SE), initiated by the Estonian Green Party Faction, were excluded from the agenda for this working week. The deliberation of these Bills was postponed.

The Participation in International Civil Missions Act (829 SE), initiated by the Government, was passed with 84 votes in favour. The purpose of the Act is to organise the system of participation in civil missions and to create a clear legal basis therefor. It also solves several issues of salary, insurance and training of experts which so far have not been regulated. The Act provides the possibility to also send experts who are working in the private sector and “freelance” experts on a mission. The expenses relating to preparation for missions and participation in a mission will be covered from the state budget, generally from the funds allocated to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or the Rescue Board which enables more purposeful planning of Estonia’s participation in international civil missions, avoiding extra burden on the employer of an expert. The Act defines the area of responsibility in the preparation for missions and participation in a mission, so as to avoid duplication of the activities of agencies as well as additional expenses upon recruiting of experts and procurement of special equipment. The Act enters into force on 1 April 2011.
 
The Act on Ratification of the Protocol Amending the Convention between the Republic of Estonia and Georgia for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with Respect to Taxes on Income and on Capital (911 SE), initiated by the Government, was passed with 72 votes in favour. The purpose of the Protocol which is ratified is to refresh the provisions of the Tax Convention which entered into force in 2008. The Protocol amends the provisions of the Convention concerning the time limit of the creation of a permanent establishment arising from construction activities, the principles of taxation of passive tax categories, the provisions concerning taxation of gains derived from the alienation of property, the scope of exchange of information and the avoidance of double taxation.
 
On the motion of the Constitutional Committee, the second reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Population Register Act and Associated Acts (876 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded. The purpose of the Bill is to resolve the problems that have arisen in the implementation of the Population Register Act, to enhance and simplify the entry of data on the place of residence in the population register for the subjects of the population register, to ensure the use of data of the population register upon performance of public duties and to prevent duplicated collection of the data collected to the population register to other databases. The Bill was sent to the third reading.
 
On the motion of the Cultural Affairs Committee, the second reading of the Archives Bill (854 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded. The main objective of the Bill is to create optimum legal conditions upon transition to digital document and archives management and to ensure long-term preservation of digital documents. The Bill reduces the term for transfer of records to an archives to ten years (instead of the current twenty years) as of the creation of a document because the factors influencing the preservation of digital information, in particular, outdating of hardware and software, including file formats being discarded from use and replacing of IT-systems, take place once in ten or fifteen years on average. The transfer of documents of archival value from agencies performing public duties to the National Archives not later than within ten years will enable to manage related risks and to apply digital archival methods for ensuring long-term preservation and usability of records in one particular centre of excellence. The Bill was sent to the third reading.
 
On the motion of the Environmental Committee, the second reading of the General Part of the Environmental Code Bill (799 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded. As a framework Act, this Act provides the basic concepts of environmental law, the principles of environmental protection, everyone’s duties, the obligations of operators, the environmental rights and the processing of the new integrated environmental permit. The initiator stated that the purpose of the preparation of the General Part of the Environmental Code Bill is not simply to systematise the law which is currently in force and to integrate the general regulation into the General Part, but to critically review the law which is currently in force, to resolve conflicts and to fill gaps. The Bill was sent to the third reading.
 
On the motion of the Cultural Affairs Committee, the second reading of the Bill on Amendments to the University of Tartu Act and the Universities Act (858 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded. The Bill establishes a new management model of the University of Tartu: the university will be managed by the five-member Council, the Senate and the Rector. The first will be responsible for the economic activities and the second will be responsible for the academic activities of the university. The Senate will consist of the Rector (who is also the Chairman of the Senate) and up to twenty one members who are elected by the members of the University and at least one fifth of whom are students. The Rector will be elected by the Council and the members of the Senate and other persons specified in the statutes pursuant to the procedure prescribed in the statutes of the University. The Rector will manage the daily activities of the University, be responsible for the legitimate and expedient use of financial resources and exercise the highest administrative and disciplinary authority within the limits of his or her competence and on the basis of the decisions of the Council of the University. The Bill was sent to the third reading.
 
On the motion of the Foreign Affairs Committee, the first reading of the Bill on Ratification of Agreements for the Promotion and Reciprocal Protection of Investments (913 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded. The Bill concerns the agreements between the Government of the Republic of Estonia and the Government of the Kingdom of Morocco, the Government of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Government of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and the Government of Moldova with the aim of strengthening economic cooperation with these countries and promoting the business activities and economic growth of the parties. The Bill was sent to the second reading.
 
On the motion of the Constitutional Committee, the first reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Government of the Republic Act in connection with Reorganisation of Estonian Informatics Centre into Estonian Informatics Board (916 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded. The purpose of the Bill is to reorganise the Estonian Informatics Centre into the Estonian Informatics Board. The planned date of reorganisation is 1 June 2011. The Bill was sent to the second reading.
 
The first reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Vocational Educational Institutions Act and the Private Schools Act (887 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded. The Bill is the first step in the creation of the system of state recognition of vocational education. The Bill sets a legal framework for carrying out the pilot stage of accreditation of the curriculum group which will be launched in 2011. The Cultural Affairs Committee as the leading committee moved to reject the Bill at the first reading; 13 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour and 40 voted against. Thus the Bill remained in the legislative proceeding and was sent to the second reading.
 
On the motion of the Rural Affairs Committee, the first reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Rural Development and Agricultural Market Regulation Act (921 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded. The purpose of the Bill is to create an opportunity for the Ministry of Agriculture and the foundation to provide individual aid outside the aid scheme as state aid and de minimis aid. According to the Act which is currently in force, the Ministry of Agriculture can grant individual aid outside the aid scheme only as state aid and the foundation cannot provide individual aid. The Bill also intends to extend the range of applicants for practical training support and to specify the provisions regulating the observance of the limits of de minimis aid in the agriculture sector and entry of data in register. The Bill was sent to the second reading.
 
On the motion of the Rural Affairs Committee, the first reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Infectious Animal Disease Control Act and Associated Acts (922 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded. The purpose of the Bill is to bring the Infectious Animal Disease Control Act into conformity with the requirements laid down in the Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning health rules as regards animal by-products and derived products not intended for human consumption. The Bill was sent to the second reading.
 
 
On the motion of the Rural Affairs Committee, the first reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Fisheries Market Organisation Act (922 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded. The purpose of the Bill is to create opportunities for better and more purposeful use of the funding allocated for the European Fisheries Fund contribution and for more flexible financing of projects and at the same time to limit the administrative burden imposed by processing of fisheries market contribution, to ensure the granting of state aid to fisheries and de minimis aid according to the rules in force in the European Union, as well as better understanding of the requirements of the Act. The Bill was sent to the second reading.
 
 
The Riigikogu Press Service
 
 
 
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