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The President of Ukraine Victor Jushchenko who is visiting Estonia made a speech before the Riigikogu. He expressed his gratitude for the fact that at the beginning of the 1990-ties the Riigikogu was the first parliament in the world who made a statement in which it justifiably named the Great Famine in 1932-1933 caused by the Soviet powers the genocide towards the Ukrainian people. He attached great value to the contribution of the Estonian parliament who had sent its observers to the presidential election of Ukraine in 2004.

Mr. Jushchenko regarded the relations between Estonia and Ukraine based on friendship, mutual reliability and practical cooperation to be very good. “Ukraine is sincerely delighted for Estonia’s success on the way of national rebirth, national progress and economic growth. We applaud your reforms which have led Estonia to the European Union and NATO, you are a great example for us. I should like to give a uniform signal to you and to the world: Democratic changes in Ukraine have become irreversible. Ukraine’s civilized and geopolitical affiliation are firmly leading our state to the European Union and NATO,” said the President of Ukraine.

Mr. Jushchenko also explained that he had launched a dialogue with the aim of consolidating the political forces in Ukraine. Political forces may have different, tactics, but the strategy of Ukraine for moving on has already become an objective reality. He stressed: “Ukraine confirms its unfaltering interests: national rebirth, democracy, human rights, economic growth, wholesome participation in European and Euro-Atlantic institutions.”

At the end of his speech the Ukrainian head of state stressed that Estonia and Ukraine are firm partners who improve the partnership and solidarity dialogue.

The Riigikogu passed seven Acts in all:

The 2007 State Budget Act (987 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic, was passed with 57 votes in favour (16 against). The revenue in the state budget is EEK 75.91 billion and the expenses are EEK 74.78 billion. For the first time there is a budget surplus EEK 1,13 billion. The budget also includes the means for the repurchase of the shares of Eesti Raudtee. As compared to this year’s budget, the revenue of the next year’s budget has increased by approximately 23 percent and the expenses by 21 percent.

The Riigikogu passed with 72 votes in favour the Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Prevention Act, Bailiffs Act, Penal Code, Code of Criminal Procedure, State Legal Assistance Act and Code of Enforcement Procedure Act Amendment Act (972 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic, which rationalizes the confiscation of income received in a criminal way. As a basic innovation, the bases for the confiscation of property belonging to the third person were amended. Thus it is now possible to further confiscate the property acquired in a criminal way also in the case when a person who has the property during the decision making period, has received it as a gift or in any other way, more favourable than the market price or when it has been transferred to the person for avoiding the confiscation.

The Riigikogu passed with 66 votes in favour (3 against, 1 abstention) the Imprisonment Act and Code of Criminal Procedure Act Amendment Act (964 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic. The Act provides for the transfer of up to three-month imprisonment enforcement from the houses of detention to prisons beginning from 2009. The Act also provides for more possibilities to place imprisoned persons in open prisons. Since 2015 the Act provides for the restriction, according to which a prison must not receive more imprisoned persons than there are places for them. In order to ensure it, a court will have a basis for postponing the enforcement of the punishment, which means that a person who has committed a minor criminal offence, will bear his/her criminal liability where there are vacant places in prison. The Act also provides for taking the DNA sample from the persons who arrived in prison to bear criminal liability, to ensure the efficiency of combatting crime and to enable the linking of the scenes of events on the basis of biological tracks and the identification of suspects, unidentified bodies and missing persons.

The Riigikogu passed with 67 votes in favour the Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control Act Amendment Act (984 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic. The Act makes the protection of natural environment from the pollution resulting from large-scale production more efficient, following the principles of sustainable use of the environment, including the large-scale production of pigs, bovine animals and poultry. The economic purpose of the Act is to reduce the losses of working time of operators and issuers of permission, by means of joining and digitalising requests of integrated permits and format tables. The Act involves a considerable reduction of the state fees paid for the proceeding of requests of integrated permits by stock and poultry farmers.

The Riigikogu passed with 56 votes in favour (5 against, 1 abstention) the Employees Representative Act (928 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic. The Act regulates the activities of a particular kind of employee representative – the one authorised by the employees to represent them in their relations with the employer. In the meaning of the Act public servants are also considered to be employees, the employer in the public service is an institution of a state or a local government unit. The Act also introduces several amendments to the Trade Union Act, Employment Contracts Act and Wages Act, which all proceed from the general conception of the present Act.

The Riigikogu passed with 54 votes in favour the Act on the Ratification of the Convention between the Government of the Republic of Estonia and the Government of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with Respect to Taxes on Income and on Capital and the Protocol Thereto (1019 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic. The Act promotes investments, ensures equal treatment of persons and eliminates double taxation which may result from combined effect of the laws of the two states. The agreement imposes restrictions on income and property taxes, which may be imposed on the residents of the other state by the state of the source of income. The Agreement also contributes to the creation of additional possibilities for the prevention of tax evasions.

The Riigikogu passed with 57 votes in favour the Act on the Approval of Annexes B.4, B.7, B.8 and E of the Convention on Temporary Admission (1025 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic. The Act brings the Estonian law in conformity with the Article 6(2) of the Act of Accession of the EU merger agreement, pursuant to which the new Member States are obliged to accede to agreements and conventions which have been jointly concluded by the former Member States or the Community or which they provisionally apply. The purpose is also to contribute to the possibly uniform application of temporary importation of the customs procedure in the EU Member States applied under the carnet of the Admission Temporaire-Temporary Admission and to enable provisional importation of tourist publicity materials, the goods used in manufacturing operations or imported in the framework of border traffic and partially exempted from import taxes.

The Riigikogu concluded the second reading of two Bills:

The Bill on Amendments to the Credit Institutions Act and Financial Supervision Authority Act (1017 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic;

The Bill on Amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety Act (975 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic; The Social Democratic Party Faction moved to suspend the second reading of the Bill. The motion was not supported. The result of voting: 3 votes in favour, 36 against.

On the motion of the Estonian Reform Party Faction the second reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Insurance Activities Act (995 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic, was suspended. The result of voting: 43 votes in favour, 15 against.

On the motion of the Legal Affairs Committee the second reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Copyright Act, Patents Act, Utility Models Act, Industrial Design Protection Act, Layout Designs of Integrated Circuits Protection Act, Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Prevention Act, Anti-corruption Act, Competition Act, Penal Code, Weapons Act, Alcohol Act, Taxation Act, Misdemeanour Procedure Code, Penal Code Implementation Act and Electricity Market Act (931 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic, was suspended.

The Riigikogu concluded the first reading of six Bills:

The Bill on Amendments to the Basic Schools and Upper Secondary Schools Act and Private Schools Act (1035 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic;

The Draft Resolution of the Riigikogu On the Approval of the Transport Development Plan for the Years 2006-2013 (1028 OE), submitted by the Government of the Republic;

The Electrical Safety Bill (1045 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic,

The Bill on Amendments to the Railways Act and Roads Act (1039 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic;

The Bill on Amendments to the Aviation Act and State Fees Act (1036 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic;

The Bill on Amendments to the Electronic Communications Act and Broadcasting Act (1024 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic.

At Question Time Minister of Culture Raivo Palmaru answered the questions about the Broadcasting Council, Russian propaganda, Sakala Centre, financing of museums, value added taxes of culture tickets and media policy. Minister of Education and Research Mailis Reps answered the question about the administration of education institutions.

The sitting ended at 6.57 p.m.

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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