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The Riigikogu passed with 54 votes in favour the Resolution of the Riigikogu “Reasoned Opinion to the President of the European Parliament, the President of the European Commission and the President of the Council of the European Union of Non-conformity to the Principle of Subsidiary of the Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Council Directives 78/660/EEC and 83/349/EEC as regards Disclosure of Nonfinancial and Diversity Information by Certain Large Companies and Groups” (445 OE), initiated by the European Union Affairs Committee. According to the Resolution, the Riigikogu presents a reasoned opinion to the President of the European Parliament, the President of the European Commission and the President of the Council of the European Union in regard to the relevant proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council. In the opinion of the European Union Affairs Committee, the European Union wishes to apply measures which do not fall within the exclusive competence of the EU and are in conflict with the principle of subsidiarity which stipulates that political decisions in the EU must always be taken at the lowest possible administrative and political level and as close to citizens as possible. The proposal for a directive will require large listed companies to provide information on their diversity policy, including aspects concerning age, gender, geographical diversity, and educational and professional background. The corporate governance statement will have to contain the objectives of such a policy, its implementation and the results obtained. According to the commercial register data on companies, this proposal would bring about an obligation to disclose additional non-financial information for a minimum of 30 companies in Estonia, and 16 companies would be required to provide information on their diversity policy. The EU Affairs Committee is of the opinion that company law falls within the competence of Member States, and companies generally exist under national law. Under the Riigikogu Rules of Procedure and Internal Rules Act, only the European Union Affairs Committee has the right to initiate a draft Resolution of the Riigikogu containing such a reasoned opinion. The Chairman of the European Union Affairs Committee Arto Aas said that it was the first time in the history of the Riigikogu that a discussion of the issue of subsidiarity was held in the plenary assembly of the Riigikogu. 23 members of the Riigikogu voted against the Resolution and 2 members abstained. The Resolution enters into force upon signature.

On the motion of the Social Affairs Committee, the second reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Social Welfare Act (399 SE), initiated by Rainer Vakra, Lembit Kaljuvee, Inara Luigas, Deniss Boroditsh, Kalle Laanet and the Social Democratic Party Faction, was concluded. The purpose of the Bill is to extend the range of persons who receive the needs-based family benefit. According to the amendment, all families with children who receive a subsistence benefit will have the possibility to receive the needs-based family benefit. This means that the right to receive the needs-based family benefit will also extend to families who have got children and whose incomes during the three months preceding the application for the needs-based family benefit exceed the income limit for the needs-based family benefit but whose housing expenses are so high that the family received a subsistence benefit in the month preceding the application for the needs-based family benefit. The Bill was sent to the third reading.

On the motion of the Social Affairs Committee, the second reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Labour Market Services and Benefits Act and the Unemployment Insurance Act (427 SE), initiated by the same Committee, was concluded. The purpose of the Bill is to restore the regulation of repeatedly applying for the unemployment allowance or the unemployment insurance that was in force until 1 April 2013 where payment of the unemployment allowance or the unemployment insurance was continued also in the case when the person had been in the public service, including compulsory military service, alternative service or reserve service, during two periods when he or she had been registered as unemployed. The initiator asserted that amendment of the definition of service in the Defence Forces as of 1 April 2013 so that compulsory military service, alternative service and reserve service are no longer deemed to be public service should not result in a situation due to which a person loses the right to receive the unemployment allowance or the unemployment insurance. The Bill was sent to the third reading.

On the motion of the Environment Committee, the second reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Ambient Air Protection Act and Amendments to Other Associated Acts (434 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded. The purpose of the Bill is to transpose the concepts used in European Union law, to specify the regulations in the Act and to update the wording. The regulation concerns the auctioning of greenhouse gas emission allowances and the use of the auctioning revenues, the trading registry holding account and the person trading account, as well as the procedure for calculating the greenhouse gas emission allowances auctioned to aircraft operators. The Bill was sent to the third reading.

On the motion of the Constitutional Committee, the first reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Obligation to Leave and Prohibition on Entry Act and the Citizen of the European Union Act (444 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded. The Bill amends the legal provisions relating to the return, removal and detention of third-country nationals staying in Estonia illegally and the application of a prohibition on entry so that the wording of the Obligation to Leave and Prohibition on Entry Act would not cause difficulties in interpretation and would not require detailed knowledge of various legislation from aliens. At the same time it provides for the specifications of the application of a precept to leave, removal, a prohibition on entry and a refusal of permission to enter the country with regard to citizens of the Member States of the European Union, citizens of the member states of the European Economic Area or the Swiss Confederation and their family members in the Citizen of the European Union Act. The Bill was sent to the second reading.

On the motion of the Environment Committee, the first reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Environmental Supervision Act (443 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded. The purpose of the Bill is to amend the Environmental Supervision Act so that it would include the legal basis for establishing the databases necessary to the Environmental Inspectorate. Another purpose of the Bill is to ensure the readiness of the Environmental Inspectorate to respond to crisis situations and to effectively perform unforeseeable and urgent tasks after the end of working time and on rest days and public holidays. The Bill was sent to the second reading.

Due to the end of the working hours of the plenary meeting, the first reading of the Bill on Amendments to the State Family Benefits Act (435 SE), initiated by the Estonian Centre Party Faction, was adjourned. The deliberation will be resumed on Wednesday, 19 June, at the sitting beginning at 2 p.m.

The Riigikogu Press Service

 

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