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The Riigikogu passed with 83 votes in favour the Act on Implementation of Regulation (EU) No 211/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council “On the Citizens’ Initiative” (276 SE), initiated by the Government. This Regulation concerns the right of citizens to participate in the democratic life of the Union by way of a European citizens’ initiative, affording citizens the possibility of directly approaching the Commission with a request inviting it to submit a proposal for a legal act of the Union for the purpose of implementing the Treaties. The Act determines unambiguously at the national level the government authorities who perform the obligations arising from the Regulation on the citizens’ initiative, and the procedural bases.

The Act on Amendments to the Food Act (322 SE), initiated by the Government, was passed with 80 votes in favour. The aim of the amendments is to bring the provisions regulating the use of food additives and processing aids in the Food Act into conformity with European Union law. In the opinion of the initiator, it is easier for the food industry to comply with the relevant requirements when the whole sector is regulated by EU Regulations.

On the motion of the Legal Affairs Committee, the first reading of the Bill on Amendments to the State Legal Aid Act, the State Fees Act, the Code of Civil Procedure and Associated Acts (346 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded. The Bill is intended to improve and develop the process of organising state legal aid, in particular view of the procedure for application for appointment of a provider of state legal aid, and the application for and calculation of the fee paid to an advocate for the provision of state legal aid and the compensation for expenses relating to the provision of state legal aid. The amendments improve and simplify the all-digital process of state legal aid by reducing the acts performed on paper both for application for state legal aid and for determining the state legal aid fee and the state legal aid expenses. The Bill provides a more favourable state fee rate upon filing an appeal against a court ruling via relevant information systems. The aim of amending the Code of Criminal Procedure and the Code of Misdemeanour Procedure is to specify the regulation of the delivery of procedural documents via the e-file system. The Bill was sent to the second reading.

On the motion of the Legal Affairs Committee, the first reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Law of Obligations Act and the Advertising Act (347 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded. The amendments specify the regulation of responsible lending applied to consumer credit agreements in the Law of Obligations Act, and the regulation of advertising of financial services, including consumer credit, in the Advertising Act. The Bill gives a content to the concept of creditworthiness of the consumer; provides for the circumstances which a creditor must take into account when assessing the creditworthiness of the consumer; and provides that an advertisement in which consumer credit is offered or the arrangement of consumer credit contracts is offered may contain only essential information on the creditor or the credit intermediary and the service provided and it must be responsible and balanced. According to the Bill, an advertisement may not leave an impression that taking consumer credit is a risk-free and easy opportunity to solve financial problems, or induce consumers to take irresponsible loans. The Bill was sent to the second reading.

On the motion of the Social Affairs Committee, the first reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Medicinal Products Act, the Penal Code and the State Fees Act (332 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded. The Bill provides for the concept of sale of medicinal products at a distance which is lacking in the law currently in force, and grants holders of the activity licence of general pharmacy the right to offer for sale at a distance medicinal products for human use (medicinal products not subject to prescription as well as medicinal products subject to prescription) and veterinary medicinal products not subject to prescription. A precondition for the sale of medicinal products subject to prescription in the case of sale at a distance is the requirement that the prescription has to have been issued in electronic form and saved in the Digital Prescription Centre. The sale of veterinary medicinal products subject to prescription will be restricted because there is no digital prescription for prescribing such medicinal products. According to the Bill, the relevant provider of pharmacy services will have to guarantee uniform sales and delivery terms, including the delivery charge depending on the type of delivery (for example, courier, parcel terminal, post office, in-store pickup, etc.) on the whole territory of Estonia. In addition to the above, the Bill provides for the definition of falsified medicinal product and the regulation for the prevention of the distribution of falsified medicinal products. The initiator asserted that there is an alarming increase of medicinal products detected in the Union which are falsified, including false representations of innovative and life-saving medicines. The Bill was sent to the second reading.

On the motion of the Rural Affairs Committee, the first reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Territory of Estonia Administrative Division Act, the Promotion of Local Government Merger Act and the Public Transport Act (352 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded. The Bill proposes amendment of the procedure for changing the administrative-territorial organisation so that voluntary merger of local governments would not be restricted by merging regions prescribed by the Government. It also proposes to expressly allow local governments in special circumstances, that is, local governments located on islands, to merge also when as a result of the merger of local governments there will be no common administrative border between the territories of the local governments. The Bill was sent to the second reading.

On the motion of the Cultural Affairs Committee, the first reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Vocational Educational Institutions Act (331 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded. The new Vocational Educational Institutions Act will replace the respective Act which entered into force in 1998 and has become outdated today. Because, for various reasons, very large themes need to be amended in the Act which is currently in force, it was not expedient to introduce new amendments to the existing Act. The major amendments in the new Act are the transition from the current types of vocational training (vocational training without the requirement of basic education, on the basis of basic education and on the basis of secondary education, and vocational secondary education) to new types of training related to the Estonian qualification framework, consistent implementation of the principle of output-basedness when establishing evaluation and the types and curricula of vocational training, the implementation of the right to carry out instruction for which all vocational educational institutions and institutions of professional higher education carrying out vocational training must apply, more collegial management, the establishing of the qualification requirements for teachers on the basis of professional standards, the definition of a new unit of calculation of the study load, and the improvement of the financing principles. The Bill was sent to the second reading.

The Riigikogu Press Service

 

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