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The Minister of Regional Affairs Siim-Valmar Kiisler took the oath of office before the Riigikogu.

The Riigikogu concluded the second reading of the Bill on Amendments to the National Coat of Arms Act (130 SE), initiated by the Government. According to the Bill, the reference standard for the national coat of arms may be stylised, in view of security considerations and the specific character of the design element and security feature, in cases when the national coat of arms is used as a design element and security feature in documents issued on the basis of the Identity Documents Act. The Act which is currently in force does not provide such possibility.

The Riigikogu concluded the first reading of six Bills:

The Bill on Amendments to the Copyright Act (178 SE), initiated by the Government, which grants libraries the right of home lending of sound carriers without asking permission from the owners of the rights, after elapse of a certain period of time. According to the legislation in force, libraries are required to ask permission for lending from performers of sound works and producers of phonograms. Also, the Bill allows for libraries, archives and museums to lend sound and audiovisual works for in-house use without asking permission from owners and free of charge. In addition, the Bill specifies the provisions concerning the use of the remuneration received in exercising of copyright transferred to an author by succession and repeals the obligation of the copyright committee operating at the Ministry of Culture to submit an overview of the situation regarding copyright in Estonia to the Government of the Republic twice a year.

The Bill on Amendments to the Aliens Act and the State Fees Act (183 SE), initiated by the Government, which amends the provisions concerning import of labour force. Among other things, the Bill increases the immigration quota to 0.1 per cent of the permanent population of Estonia instead of 0.05 per cent, which will allow an estimated import of up to 1300 specialists annually. The Bill establishes the obligation for employers to pay the salary which is at least equal to the average annual wages in Estonia multiplied by the factor 1.24 to employees recruited from outside of Estonia. In the opinion of the initiator, this will contribute to the restriction of the import of cheap labour force and ensure the situation in which employers are preferably interested in hiring employees who have a higher qualification. In addition, the Bill cuts the period of searching established for the Labour Market Board down to three weeks instead of two months and prescribes fingerprinting of applicants for visa and applicants for extension of the period of stay, arising from the corresponding Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council.

The Bill on Amendments to the Probation Supervision Act, the Imprisonment Act and the Courts Act (169 SE), initiated by the Government, intended for transferring probation supervision departments which until now have been operating at county courts to prisons system, whereby probation supervision departments will become departments of prisons.

The Bill on Amendments to the State Borders Act, and the Law of Ship Flag and Registers of Ships Act (160 SE), initiated by the Government, with the objective of curbing the activities of ships entered in the list of ships engaging in illegal, unnotified or unregulated fishing operations, by prohibiting fishing vessels engaging in illegal fishing operations to enter in ports and the chartering of such ships, precluding the right to fly the flag of Estonia for such ships and prohibiting assisting of such ships.

The Bill on Amendments to the Income Tax Act (181 SE), initiated by the Government, with the objective of bringing the procedure for taxation of Estonian enterprises with income tax into full conformity with the corresponding European Union directive on parent and subsidiary companies, retaining however the most distinctive feature of the income tax system which has been used in Estonia since 2000, that is, the postponement of taxation in cases where the profit of a company is used in enterprise.

The Bill on Amendments to the Income Tax Act (180 SE), initiated by the Government, which establishes tax exemption for reinvested investment earnings of private persons.

At Question Time, the Minister of Social Affairs Maret Maripuu answered the question about the Employment Contracts Bill, submitted by Marika Tuus. Minister Urve Palo answered the question concerning integration plan, submitted by Vilja Savisaar, and the question concerning foreign labour force, submitted by Mai Treial. The Minister of Culture Laine Jänes answered the question concerning the economic activity of the Russian Drama Theatre, submitted by Maret Merisaar, and the question concerning the financing of cultural sites of major importance, submitted by Kalev Kallo.

The verbatim record of the sitting (in Estonian) is available at: http://www.riigikogu.ee/?op=steno

The Riigikogu Press Service