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The Act on Ratification of the Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Estonia and the Government of Canada concerning Youth Exchanges (732 SE), initiated by the Government, was passed with 81 votes in favour. This Agreement helps encourage mobility and exchanges of youth; cooperation and partnership between the two countries; and the enhancement of excellence and competitiveness of educational institutions and businesses, especially small and medium businesses, in the two countries. According to the Act, the Parties agree to simplify and facilitate the administrative procedures applicable to young citizens of one country who intend to enter and stay in the territory of the other country to complement their post-secondary education, to obtain employment or practical workplace experience, or to improve their knowledge of the other country’s languages, culture and society. Nobody voted against the Act and nobody abstained.

The Riigikogu passed with 82 votes in favour the Resolution on amendment of the Resolution on appointment of members of the Estonian National Broadcasting Council (773 OE), submitted by the Cultural Affairs Committee. According to the Resolution, Member of the Riigikogu Karel Rüütli was appointed a member of the Estonian National Broadcasting Council instead of Villu Reiljan. Nobody voted against the Resolution and nobody abstained.
 
On the motion of the Constitutional Committee, the second reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Aliens Act (736 SE), initiated by the Cultural Affairs Committee, was concluded. The purpose of the amendments is to solve the problems of foreign students taking up studies in Estonia that have emerged in connection with the transition evaluation of higher education level curricula and recognition of curricula by the state that is required upon application for a residence permit for studying. Taking up of studies on the basis of a curriculum not recognised by the state and the requirements set for educational institutions in connection with that are additionally regulated. The Bill provides that, until 31 December 2011 (i.e. until termination of the transition period of assessment of the quality of higher education), a temporary residence permit for studying may be issued to an alien; 1) for studying in Master’s study if the curriculum of Master’s study has not been recognised by the state but has been entered in the list of curricula of Master’s study approved by a directive of the Minister of Education and Research on the basis of the results of the competition of curricula of Master’s study that are marketed internationally and supported from the state budget, or 2) for studying in Doctoral study if the curriculum of Doctoral study has not been recognised by the state but the field of research and development to which the curriculum of Doctoral study not recognised by the state belongs has been positively evaluated at the university. The Bill was sent to the third reading.
 
On the motion of the Environmental Committee, the second reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Water Act and the Chemicals Act (710 SE), initiated by the same Committee, was concluded. Amendment of the Water Act and the Chemicals Act is necessitated by additional transposition of the provisions of the water policy framework directive of the European Parliament and of the Council in connection with the letter of formal notice from the European Commission in which the Commission found that the water policy framework directive had not been correctly transposed into Estonian law. The directives transposed and river basin based approach will allow a more efficient organisation of the monitoring and protection of surface water and groundwater. The purpose of river basin based regulation of the use and protection of water is to protect water bodies in view of integrity of water bodies and in consideration of all factors affecting water bodies, thereby ensuring integration of water management. In this way, it will be possible to prevent the problem common in Estonia that a water body (e.g. a river) is polluted in one county and the water of that water body is used as drinking water in another county. The Bill also contains other measures for improving the condition of surface water and groundwater. The Bill was sent to the third reading.
 
On the motion of the Environmental Committee, the second reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Biocides Act (748 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded. The purpose of the Act is to transpose the directive of the European Parliament and of the Council the purpose of which is to preserve the market of biocides in Europe and to extend the transitional period provided in the biocides directive by four years so that it would be possible to complete the active substances review programme. The Bill also specifies the scope of application of the Act in force in order to make it unambiguously understandable to all who apply it and supplements the supervision competence of agencies performing state supervision. The Bill was sent to the third reading.
 
On the motion of the Finance Committee, the first reading of the Bill on Amendments to the State Assets Act (772 SE), initiated by the same Committee, was concluded. The amendment concerns the conditions of taking loans for state-founded foundations. According to the amendment, a state-founded foundation may take loans and enter into capital lease contracts only on the basis of a unanimous resolution of all members of the supervisory board. The Bill was sent to the second reading.
 
On the motion of the Cultural Affairs Committee, the Bill on Amendments to the Estonian National Broadcasting Act (729 SE), initiated by the Estonian Centre Party Faction, was rejected at the first reading. 43 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of the motion and 36 voted against, nobody abstained. Thus, the Bill was dropped from the legislative proceeding.
 
On the motion of the Social Affairs Committee, the Bill on Amendments to the Estonian Health Insurance Fund Act and the Health Care Services Organisation Act (738 SE), initiated by the Estonian Centre Party Faction, was rejected at the first reading. 46 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of the motion and 31 voted against, nobody abstained. The Bill was dropped from the legislative proceeding.
 
On the motion of the Social Affairs Committee, the Bill on Amendments to the Labour Market Services and Benefits Act (692 SE), initiated by the Estonian Centre Party Faction, was rejected at the first reading. 46 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of the motion and 34 voted against, nobody abstained. The Bill was dropped from the legislative proceeding.
 
Due to the end of the working hours of the sitting of the plenary assembly, the first reading of the Jobs Creation Bill (704 SE), initiated by the Estonian Centre PartyFaction, was adjourned. The deliberation will be resumed tomorrow, on 9 June, at the sitting beginning at 2 p.m.
 
 
The Riigikogu Press Service
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