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The Riigikogu passed with 65 votes in favour (2 votes against) the Act on the Accession to the Protocol to the 1979 Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution on Heavy Metals (778 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic. The accession to the Protocol helps to reduce the emissions of anthropogenic heavy metals, which spread over state borders and exert remarkably negative influence on human health and on the environment.

The Riigikogu suspended the second reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Marital Property Register Act, Land Register Act, Bailiffs Act, Law of Maritime Property Act and Associated Acts (779 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic. The purpose of the Bill is to eliminate from these Acts the conflicts that may appear upon the entry into force of the new Code of Civil Procedure and the Code of Enforcement Procedure, and to ensure the terminological and legal unity of the Acts. In addition, a possibility will be created for the cross-usage of different judicial registers, and notaries are entitled to confirm the authenticity of documents electronically. Supervision over liberal legal professions will also be harmonised and specified. The state supervision over the bailiffs’ activities, as well as supervision over notaries, will thus remain solely in the competence of the Ministry of Justice.

The Riigikogu concluded the first reading of three Bills:

The Bill on Amendments to the Organisation of Research and Development Act (797 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic, provides for the establishment of the Estonian Scientific Information System, the purpose of which is to concentrate the existing information related to the state research and development activities into a unified entity. It enables to improve the use of human and financial resources and scientific and working environment potentials, and to make strategic and operative decisions. So far no such unified data base exists.

The Bill on the Accession to the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade (796 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic. The purpose of the Convention is to promote the shared liability of the Parties to the Convention, in order to protect human health and the environment against possible harmful impact of hazardous chemicals, to improve the information exchange concerning the named chemicals and to establish the internal decision-making procedure regarding the import and export of those chemicals, and to forward relevant decisions to the Parties to the Convention.

The purpose of the Bill on Amendments to the President of the Republic Official Benefits Act, Income Tax Act and Social Tax Act (805 SE), initiated by the Estonian Reform Party Faction, Estonian Centre Party Faction and Estonian People’s Union Faction, is to improve social guarantees of the President holding the office and of the resigned President as well as the members of their families, and to eliminate the problems emerged upon the application of the Act. The Bill provides for a representation allowance to the spouse of the President, the amount of which forms 30 percent of the President’s official salary. The spouse of the President is also entitled to a secretary and an official car at the expense of the state.

At Question Time Minister of Finance Aivar Sõerd answered the questions about the state finance, the use of privatisation vouchers, the tasks of Eesti Raudtee and the local governments. Minister of Education and Research Mailis Reps answered the question about financing the school food. Minister of Social Affairs Jaak Aab answered the question about the performance of salary contracts.

The questions asked at the Question Time and the answers to them as well as the verbatim record of the Riigikogu sitting are available (in Estonian) on the Internet at: http://web.riigikogu.ee/ems/plsql/stenograms.form

The Riigikogu Press Service

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