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President of the German parliament Norbert Lammert who is on a visit in Estonia within the framework of the events of the European Capital of Culture 2011 made a speech before the Riigikogu today. The President of the Bundestag noted that nearly twenty years have passed since Estonia regained independence and Germany was united and those events are closely related. Lammert acknowledged the cooperation between Estonia and Germany during those years and believed that it will become even closer in the years of overcoming the economic crisis. Lammert considered it important that agreements be achieved between member states for implementation of crisis mechanisms and he added that Estonia as a new member state of the European Union is a model for many older member states with its standards. The President of the Bundestag also extended his best wishes for the title of the Capital of Culture.

On the motion of the Foreign Affairs Committee, the first reading of the Bill on Ratification of the Agreement on the Second Amendment of the Cotonou Agreement (12 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded. The purpose of the amendments to the Agreement is to make specifications in the Cotonou Agreement which cover the obligations assumed by the European Union in recent years (including the obligations emanating from the UN Millennium Development Goals, ensuring of peace and security, climate change) and simplify implementation of the Cotonou Agreement, creating the basis for emergence of a more systematic and formal political, economic and social dialogue. In particular, the regulation concerning economic cooperation, humanitarian, emergency and post-emergency assistance, procurements and regional integration is amended. The Bill was sent to the second reading.
 
On the motion of the National Defence Committee, the first reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Peace-Time National Defence Act and Other Acts in connection with Amendment of the Constitution of the Republic of Estonia (28 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded. The purpose of this Bill is to bring certain Acts into conformity with the changes made in the organisation of national defence with the Act on amendments to the Constitution. The greatest amendment as compared to the current regulation is changing of the national defence competence of the President of the Republic and elimination of the concept of the institution of “the Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Forces” in Acts concerning national defence. The Bill also specifies the appointing to office and release from office of the Commander of the Defence Forces, the Commander of the General Staff of the Defence Forces, the Commander of the National Defence League and chiefs of services. According to the Bill, the Government of the Republic will appoint the Commander of the Defence Forces and the Commander of the General Staff of the Defence Forces to office on the proposal of the Minister of Defence, after hearing the position of the National Defence Committee of the Riigikogu. The Commander of the National Defence League will be appointed to office and released from office on the joint proposal of the Minister of Defence and the Commander of the Defence Forces. A chief of service will be appointed to office and released from office by the Minister of Defence on the proposal of the Commander of the Defence Forces. The Bill was sent to the second reading.
 
 
The Riigikogu Press Service
 
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