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Riigikogu

The alternate member of the Riigikogu Tiit Kuusmik took the oath of office.

The Riigikogu passed six Acts and a Resolution:

The Supplementary Budget of the Year 2005 Act (736 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic, was passed with 70 votes in favour. The revenue is in the amount of EEK 2.16 billion and the expenses in the amount of EEK 1.89 billion. The expenses are prescribed for ensuring the increase in pensions as well as investments in health care and education. The supplementary budget shows considerable surplus in the government sector – EEK 332.7 million, of which the difference between the revenue and expenses of the state budget is EEK 269.3 million.

The Land Reform Act Amendment Act (681 SE), initiated by the Estonian People’s Union Faction, Estonian Reform Party Faction and Estonian Centre Party Faction, was passed with 48 votes in favour (2 votes against). The Act is aimed at achieving two main purposes – determination of deadline of privatisation acts and quicker municipalization of lands. The possibility to deliberately delay the privatisation processes is eliminated. The transfer of land to the ownership of local governments becomes quicker, the use of municipalized land for the intended purposes has also been ensured.

The Animal Protection Act and Farm Animals Breeding Act Amendment Act (689 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic, was passed with 60 votes in favour. The Act brings the provisions regulating the transport of animals into conformity with the requirements stipulated by the legal acts of the European Union. In order to bring the Act into compliance with the relevant Directive, the requirement was established that persons who are engaged in the transport of animals must be registered in the local office of the Veterinary and Food Board, regardless of the duration of the transport. The registration enables to better exercise supervision over the fulfilment of transport requirements. The exceptions to application of the requirements established by the Animal Protection Act were also stipulated. In order to solve the problems that emerged in the course of implementation, notions and used terminology have been specified, the list of permitted veterinary proceedings havs been amended and stipulated concerning the proceedings which change animals’ appearance and which are not performed for the purpose of medical treatment; the provisions concerning the conditions for the slaughter of farm animals, the transport of animals and the public show of animals have been amended; and the provisions concerning the alienation of animals and the deprivation of a right to keep animals have been amended and reworded.

The Resolution of the Riigikogu On the Approval of the Estonian Environmental Strategy until the Year 2010 (652 OE), initiated by the Government of the Republic, was passed with 43 votes in favour (1 abstention). The basis for drafting the Resolution was the Resolution of the Riigikogu of 12 March 1997, in which the Estonian environmental strategy was approved and the proposal was made to the Government to generalise, after five years, the results of the environmental strategy and, if necessary, to improve and make amendments to the strategy. The drafting of the Estonian environmental strategy until the year 2010 was organized by the Ministry of the Environment. The purpose of innovation is to bring the Estonian environmental strategy into conformity with the 6th Environment Action Programme of the European Union; the peculiarity of Estonia as a Member State, the needs of our population and the changes of Estonian economic possibilities have been taken into account. The Estonian environmental strategy in the present form determines the objectives and preferences of activities in the Estonian environmental sphere. The renewed environmental strategy is a good starting point for the further systematization of Estonia’s environmental policy, it helps to keep the environmental activities in Estonia comprehensible, to preserve the quality of life for the people of Estonia, good environmental condition, and to ensure sustainable use of natural resources.

The Act on the Ratification of the Convention between the Republic of Estonia and the Slovak Republic 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 (707 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic, was passed with 42 votes in favour. The aim of this Convention is to set restrictions on income and property taxes that one country may impose on residents of another country, and to eliminate international double taxation which may occur as a result of co-appliance of Acts of the two countries. The Convention regulates the distribution of the right of taxation between the states, prohibits discriminatory taxation and establishes the obligation to eliminate double taxation. The Convention limits the impact of a country’s laws (e.g. a 10% tax rate is imposed instead of 24%), which means that a Contracting Party gives up a part of tax revenue in favour of another Party and vice versa. Agreements on avoidance of double taxation contribute to promotion of international investments and trade between the states, as well as to the free movement of technology and persons.

The Act on the Ratification of the Convention between the Republic of Estonia and Romania for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with Respect to Taxes on Income and on Capital (718 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic, was passed with 44 votes in favour. The aim of this Convention is to set restrictions on income and property taxes that one country may impose on residents of another country, and to eliminate international double taxation which may occur as a result of co-appliance of Acts of the two countries.

The Act on the Ratification of the Agreement on Social Security between the the Republic of Estonia and Canada (704 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic, was passed with 40 votes in favour. The objective of the Agreement is to enable the Contracting Parties to continue the payment of pensions and benefits to persons and their dependants or to surviving dependants who have the right to receive benefits, pursuant to the legal acts of one of the Contracting Parties, in case of their settlement in the other Contracting Party. If the accountable period spent in one Contracting Party is not long enough to qualify for a benefit, the Agreement allows to combine that accountable period with the other accountable period acquired in the other Contracting Party, and the benefit shall be determined on the basis of a sufficient summary accountable period. If the accountable periods acquired in both Contracting Parties still do not suffice for determination of benefits, the Agreement also enables to take into account the accountable periods in such non-contracting parties with whom both Contracting Parties have concluded an Agreement on Social Security.

The Riigikogu concluded the second reading of three Bills:

The Bill on Amendments to the Roads Act (714 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic;

The Bill on Amendments to the Accounting Act, Business Code and Commercial Associations Act (723 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic;

The Bill on Amendments to the Emergency Preparedness Act and to Other Acts Arising Therefrom (712 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic;

The Riigikogu concluded the first reading of four Bills:

The Providing International Protection to Aliens Bill (726 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic;

The Foreign Service Bill (732 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic;

The Bill on the Ratification of the Agreement between the Kingdom of Belgium, the Czech Republic, the Kingdom of Denmark, the Federal Republic of Germany, the Republic of Estonia, the Hellenic Republic, the Kingdom of Spain, the French Republic, Ireland, the Italian Republic, the Republic of Cyprus, the Republic of Latvia, the Republic of Lithuania, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, the Republic of Hungary, the Republic of Malta, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Republic of Austria, the Republic of Austria, the Portuguese Republic, the Republic of Slovenia, the Slovak Republic, the Republic of Finland, the Kingdom of Sweden, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (the Member States of the European Union) and the Republic of Bulgaria and Romania on the Accession of the Republic of Bulgaria and Romania to the European Union (733 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic;

The Draft Resolution of the Riigikogu On the Approval of the Consolidated Report of the Economic Year of 2004 of the State (727 OE), submitted by the Government of the Republic.

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The Riigikogu heard the overview of the State Audit Office of the Use and Preservation of State Assets in 2004, submitted by the Auditor General Mihkel Oviir.

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On the motion of the Constitutional Committee the Draft Resolution of the Riigikogu On the Formation of the Riigikogu Committee of Investigation to Investigate Keila-Joa Immovable Property Transactions (747 OE), submitted by the Union for the Republic – Res Publica Faction, was rejected. The result of voting: 46 votes in favour, 28 against.

At Question Time Minister of Agriculture Ester Tuiksoo answered the questions about AS Werol, dairying and marine activities. Minister of Regional Affairs Jaan Õunapuu answered the questions about regional policy and Minister of Justice Rein Lang answered the question about the problems dealt with in the article “Filling the Gap of Legality” of the newspaper “Eesti Päevaleht.

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 sitting ended at 19.54.

The Riigikogu Press Service

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