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The Riigikogu passed with 84 votes in favour the Act on Amendments to the Commercial Code, the Non-profit Associations Act and Associated Acts (205 SE), initiated by the Government. The amendments provide that, upon foundation of a company electronically or through a notary, capital contribution can be paid immediately to the bank account of the legal person which is being founded. Starting from 2010, annual reports are going to be submitted only in electronic form to the court maintaining the register. Submitting of the reports in electronic form allows the annual reports to be published notably sooner than has been possible so far. Also, the annual reports of non-profit associations are going to be public and, as of 2010, the task of collecting the reports is going to be transferred from the Tax and Customs Board to the court maintaining the register. Sole proprietors will be registered only in the commercial register. The amendments repeal the citizenship requirement for notaries within the European Union. Clauses 1 1), 5)-6) and clauses 6 1)-3) and 6)-7) and clause 9 1) of the Act enter into force on 1 January 2009. Clause 1 2), § 3, § 5 and clauses 6 4)-5) and 8) enter into force on 1 January 2010. Nobody voted against the Act and nobody abstained.

 

The Act on Amendments to the Transplantation of Organs and Tissues Act, the Artificial Insemination and Embryo Protection Act and Associated Acts (214 SE), initiated by the Government, was passed with 79 votes in favour. The purpose of the amendments is to ensure safe handling of cells, tissues and organs according to the requirements prescribed by European Union directives. Section 1, clauses 2 1)-7) and §§ 3-5 of the Act enter into force on 1 January 2009. Nobody voted against the Act and nobody abstained.

The Act on the Ratification of the Agreement on taking account of the periods of insurance completed in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics between the Government of the Republic of Estonia and the Government of the Republic of Lithuania (229 SE), initiated by the Government, was passed with 73 votes in favour. The abovementioned Agreement on taking account of the periods of insurance completed in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was signed in Tallinn on 24 August 2007. The Act repeals the earlier Agreement entered into in 1996. The legal background of its scope of application has changed significantly as compared to the time of signature of the former Agreement because at the time when the Agreement was signed Estonia and Lithuania were not yet part of the EU social security coordination system. Pursuant to the Agreement to be ratified, the state of the party in whose territory a longer period of insurance was completed will take account of the periods of insurance completed in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and will pay the pension. The Act enters into force pursuant to general procedure, i.e. on the tenth day after publication in the Riigi Teataja. The Agreement enters into force on the first day of the second month after the month in which the parties have notified each other in writing, through diplomatic channels, that the legal acts necessary for the entry into force of the Agreement have been accomplished. Nobody voted against the Act and nobody abstained.

On the motion of the Legal Affairs Committee as the leading committee, the second reading of the Bill on the Implementation of the European Parliament and the Council Regulation (EC) No 1082/2006 on a European grouping of territorial cooperation (EGTC) (204 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded. The objective of the Regulation (EC) No 1082/2006, adopted on 5 July 2006, is to facilitate and promote cross-border, transnational and/or interregional cooperation between Member States, with the aim of strengthening economic and social cohesion. The Regulation enables creation of cooperative groupings in Community territory, invested with legal personality, called “European groupings of territorial cooperation”, in order to overcome the obstacles hindering territorial cooperation. The Bill was sent to the third reading.

On the motion of the Finance Committee as the leading committee, the second reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Structural Assistance for the Period of 2004-2006 Act and the Structural Assistance for the Period of 2007-2013 Act (266 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded. The Bill amends the Structural Assistance Acts in regard to the deficiencies which have emerged upon implementation of the Acts which could not be foreseen during the preparation of the Acts. The most important amendment in the Structural Assistance for the Period of 2004-2006 Act is allowing of extension of deadline for implementation of projects in justified cases. Both the Structural Assistance for the Period of 2004-2006 Act and the Structural Assistance for the Period of 2007-2013 Act provide additional regulation of the reclamation of assistance as regards the cases in which the extent of damage cannot be clearly assessed and the part of the assistance subject to refunding is determined as a percentage of the assistance allocated. In addition, the mechanisms of the compulsory execution procedure for claiming of assistance to be refunded are provided. The provisions relating to payment of assistance on the basis of unpaid expense receipts are also brought to the level of law because in their current form they are restrictive and do not apply to all final recipients. The Bill also specifies the rules applicable to the cross border cooperation programmes implemented within the framework of the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument. The Bill was sent to the third reading.

On the motion of the Environmental Committee as the leading committee, the second reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Earth’s Crust Act (228 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded. In the words of the initiators, the Bill aims at managing the use of earth’s crust and extraction of mineral resources in a manner more profitable for the state and society and more systematically, by preventing or minimising potential harmful environmental impact. The Bill specifies the terminology of the Act and the processes of geological investigation, geological explorations and proceedings concerning extraction permits. The aspect of environmental protection will be given more consideration upon issuing of extraction permit and extraction activities, and additional provisions concerning supervision of extraction activities are introduced. The Bill was sent to the third reading.

On the motion of the Legal Affairs Committee as the leading committee, the second reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Police Act and Associated Acts (222 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded. One objective of the Bill is to ensure legal clarity in cases when the police apply measures which infringe fundamental rights of persons. The Bill specifies issues related to restriction of the right to free movement of persons and to the freedom to hold meetings, elaborates the concept of “coercion” in order to define the application of coercion in connection with the restriction of the right to free movement of persons; specifies the use of special equipment and weapons by the police and the documentation of their use. Among other things, the Bill regulates the use of electric shock weapon. The Bill was sent to the third reading.

On the motion of the Finance Committee as the leading committee, the first reading of the Supplementary Budget of the Year 2008 Bill (273 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded. Pursuant to the supplementary budget Bill, the revenue of the budget of the year 2008 will be reduced by 6.1 billion kroons and expenditure will be reduced by 3.2 billion kroons. The major share of the 3.2 billion, that is, 1.6 billion, will come from saving of the planned expenditure of ministries, constitutional institutions and the State Chancellery. The Estonian People’s Union Faction and the Estonian Centre Party Faction moved to reject the Bill at the first reading. 52 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of the motion and 32 voted against, nobody abstained. Thus, the motion of the two factions was not supported and the Bill was sent to the second reading.

On the motion of the Rural Affairs Committee as the leading committee, the first reading of the Rural Development and Agricultural Market Regulation Bill (275 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded. The purpose of the Bill is to bring state aid measures into conformity with the European Union law. The Act provides among other things the procedures relating to state aid in communicating with the European Commission. The Bill was sent to the second reading.

On the motion of the Environment Committee as the leading committee, the first reading of the Bill on Amendments to § 16 and § 19 of the Environmental Charges Act (264 SE), initiated by the Environment Committee, was concluded. The passing of the Act would enable undertakings to be released from the obligation to pay pollution charge for methane emissions. This primarily concerns agricultural undertakings. Since methane is not taxable in other European Union Member States, the amendment makes Estonian agricultural producers equal to the undertakings of other European Union Member States in this respect. The Bill was sent to the second reading.

 

The Riigikogu Press Service

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