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The Riigikogu passed with 64 votes in favour the Act on the Ratification of the Agreement on Working Holidays between the Government of the Republic of Estonia and the Government of New Zealand (73 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic. The purpose of the Act is to promote closer cooperation and facilitate youth tourism. Pursuant to the Agreement, Estonia and New Zealand may issue multiple working holiday visas to each other’s citizens of 18 to 30 years of age for up to 12 months. The agreement brings positive consequences to both sides. It will tighten relations between Estonia and New Zealand, support youth tourism, allow people to stay longer in the country and seek short-term employed in addition to holidaying. New Zealand citizens may spend a short period of time in Estonia without a visa. It is important to remember that a visa must be applied for before entering a country and that the conditions of the agreement must not be violated by visa holders.

The Riigikogu concluded the second reading of two Bills:

Bill on Amendments to the Border Guard Service Act (95 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic, the purpose of which is to clarify the order of conferring border guard ranks;

Bill on Amendments to the Consumer Protection Act and Law of Obligations Act (28 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic, which transposes an EU directive on trade practices. The directive gives a general definition of dishonest trade practices, sets out the rules for evaluating whether a trade practice is dishonest, and stipulates the prohibition to use dishonest trade practices vis à vis the consumers.

The Riigikogu concluded the first reading of seven Bills:

Bill on Amendments to the Electronic Communications Act and Public Health Act (62 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic, with the purpose of clarifying three concepts in the Electronic Communications Act and bringing Estonian law into complete conformity with the European Union law as concerns obligations established to undertakings with significant market power. The Bill attempts to stipulate the correct legal regulation for the coordination of frequency licences with the Health Protection Inspectorate, and to regulate the proceeding of frequency and numbering licences in the register of economic activities.

Bill on the Ratification of the 2005 Protocol for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Maritime Navigation and the 2005 Protocol Amending the Protocol for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Fixed Platforms Located on the Continental Shelf (109 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic. By joining the protocol, Estonia signals to the global community that safe maritime navigation is the priority in our maritime activities field. The Protocols determine which acts are considered criminal and must be sanctioned by the states.

Bill on Amendments to the Weapons Act and the State Fees Act (97 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic, contains changes in the state fees on transactions completed under the Weapons Act, as stipulated in the State Fees Act. The disproportionately high state fees on weapons transactions are partly decreased, and waived where they are no longer purposeful or justified from the point of view of the transactions. At the same time, the Weapons Act is amended and clarified to reflect the restoration of the role of the Police Board in coordinating the main fields. Special permits for importing and exporting, or pre-permits and permits for transmitting weapons or ammunition will be issued and registered by the Police Board, instead of the Personal Protection Service.

Bill on Amendments to the Farm Animals Breeding Act (94 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic, specifies the criteria of farm breeds and principles of preserving endangered farm breeds, and brings the Act into conformity with the EU legislation. The number of breeds is steadily decreasing on the world level because cross-breeding with universally popular commercial breeds overshadows numerous local breeds for commercial reasons. The Bill has been elaborated on the example of relevant legislation of the Czech Republic, Finland and Slovenia, the rules for protecting endangered breeds in England, as well as the Strategy for Conservation of Genetic Resources in the Nordic Countries.

Bill on the Ratification of the Agreement on the Development of Airspace Surveillance Network and Control System between the Government of the Republic of Estonia, the Government of the Republic of Latvia and the Government of the Republic of Lithuania (90 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic. The Agreement establishes the principles of BALTNET structure, control, financial organisation, possession and use of property and giving out of information. Pursuant to the Agreement, BALTNET is an integral part of the NATO air defence system which carries out airspace surveillance, weapons control, system control and training on the territories of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

Bill on Amendments to § 40 of the National Defence League Act (92 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic, specifies the time frame for returning and handing over property to the National Defence League. This allows completing the transfer of property to the National Defence League. 

Bill on Amendments to the Weapons Act, Planning Act and Rescue Act (101 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic, specifies provisions regulating Defence Forces training areas. Changes are made into the concept of Defence Forces training area, the provisions for establishing a training area and the regulations set for training areas. The Weapons Act is amended with a provision on establishing firing ranges.

On the motion of the Constitutional Committee the Riigikogu rejected at the first reading the Draft Resolution of the Riigikogu on the Formation of the Riigikogu Study Committee to Analyse the Integration Problems in the Society (38 OE), initiated by the Estonian People’s Union Faction. The result of voting: 43 votes in favour, 30 against.

At Question Time, Minister of Ethnic Affairs Urve Palo answered the questions about the forming of the citizenry, the Foundation for Helping the Repressed, and school education. Minister of Agriculture Helir-Valdor Seeder answered the questions about the regional accessibility of public services, problems of farmers in Western Estonia and sustainable development of country life. Minister of Education and Research Tõnis Lukas answered the questions about the role of the Ministry in managing universities, and traffic education.

The verbatim record (in Estonian) can be found at: https://www.riigikogu.ee/?op=steno

The Riigikogu Press Service

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