Today, Prime Minister Kaja Kallas made a political statement to the Riigikogu, outlining the plan to alleviate the impact of the corona virus, which describes the principles for making decisions, and the necessary activities to bring Estonia out of the crisis.
The Prime Minister described the plan as a new, practical, and easy-to-use concept in organising life in Estonia. Kallas explained that the so-called White Paper would elaborate on our future functioning as a society in the context of the corona virus. The White Paper will also contain recommendations for actions by the state, every individual, organisation, and business to minimise the risk. “We want to reach a point where everyone will know at the increase in the threat level what to do to avoid the threat level reaching red.”
Prime Minister explained that a four-level risk classification would be introduced to categorise situations in relation with the corona virus: green, yellow, orange, and red. These mean a low, medium, high, and very high risk level, respectively. “Each risk level is associated with specific activities that every person, organisation, or the state can do to help curb the spreading of the corona virus,” Kallas said. The principles of behaviour are complemented with sectoral agreements on self-regulation. The head of government explained that raising or lowering the risk level would be decided by the government together with the Scientific Advisory Board.
The plan does not include specific numerical indicators to determine risk levels. “A year with corona has taught us that there is a multitude of indicators to take into account, and that these are constantly changing along with the developments of the situation. What we considered a very high or red risk level last spring, seems like a low or green risk level today,” she said. Prime Minister stressed how important it was to factor in flexibility, so that the indicators could be adjusted as the situation changed.
The head of government assured that the rules were not meant to create a situation where the government sets people, businesses, or organisations fundamental top-down conditions. “On the contrary, we want to include the whole society, so that each and every one of us would know their role and responsibility in restricting the spreading of the virus,” she said. Consultations will start today to allow all the sectors that have been affected by the current restrictions to propose measures in their fields to lower the threat of the virus. “It is one big picture that we will complete together,” Prime Minister said. “This means that we are taking an important step together to avoid the need to lock up the society in the future, and keep Estonian life, Estonian economy, and the Estonian people safe.”
The plan will also include the long- and short-term planned activities of the state in managing the impacts of the corona virus and strengthening the society. One activity emphasised by Kallas was the need to establish a reserve of medical professionals. “This would function similarly to the Defence Forces reserve, where reservists with special training are called on to help in moments of crisis,” she said. “These can be medical students, doctors and nurses who have finished practicing, Defence Forces paramedics, or volunteers who want to help in a crisis. It is at a moment when we are not suffering the worst of the crisis that we need to prepare the reserve,” the head of government added.
During the debate, Erki Savisaar (Centre Party), Jevgeni Ossinovski (Social Democratic Party), Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa), Mart Helme (Estonian Conservative People’s Party), and Prime Minister Kaja Kallas took the floor.
The Riigikogu received an overview of the implementation of the fundamentals of the sports policy
At today’s plenary sitting, the Riigikogu also heard the report on the implementation of the Fundamentals of the Estonian Sports Policy until 2030 by the Minister of Culture Anneli Ott.
The Minister of Culture described 2020 as undoubtedly a very exceptional year. “The sports year had barely began when the global pandemic stopped the sports life almost completely,” she said. A positive example given by the Minister was Rally Estonia, which took place as a World Rally Championship event in South Estonia. “We showed the world that Estonia is a rally country, and the Estonians are a rally nation. The excellent organisation ensured Rally Estonia a place in the WRC calendar for this and the next year as well,” she said. “The challenging global situation was the key in giving Estonia this opportunity, and we used it to the fullest.”
One of the major concerns of the Minister is the Estonians’ inactive lifestyle. “The saying ‘A sound mind in a sound body’ is more poignant today than ever before. Increasing the physical activity of people is a topic that is current not only in Estonia, but the world over,” Ott said. She referred to the National Institute for Health Development study, which showed that 40% of Estonian adults are physically active for at least 30 minutes twice a week. However, the World Health Organisation recommends adults to be moderately physically active a minimum of 150–300 minutes a week. “Physical activity gives us an opportunity to do our body a favour that no one else can do for us,” she stressed.
Ott described the goal of Estonia 2035 strategy as encouraging at least 55% of the people to make their daily commute by public transport, bicycle, or on foot. “It is difficult to change habits, because if we have a choice between a bicycle or a car to go to work in the morning, we definitely prefer the latter,” she said. The Minister of Culture called for integrated cooperation between different fields to increase people’s activeness. But the role of the local governments is also important because they are in the best position to encourage active lifestyles through well thought-out public spaces, which are not focused solely on comfort but also offer active recreational solutions for children and adults alike.
Regarding the recent highly publicised sexual abuse cases, the Minister emphasised that incidents like these are not tolerated in sports. “Any kind of coercive activities, including sexual violence against minors, is totally unacceptable,” Ott said. She emphasised that everyone, especially children and young people, must be left with only positive memories from sports, and a useful experience for their whole lives. “In light of the latest news, we must take even more forceful steps to make this happen.” She called on everyone to keep their eyes open and inform the relevant authorities of any suspicions.
A recent important progress in the regulation of a field of sports was in connection with the criminalisation of the mediation of doping substances and inducing a person to use doping. “Every doping case erodes the faith in clean sports and puts pressure on all the athletes who have achieved their results or wish to do so in the future in an honest way,” Ott said. She also noted the special regulation from last year on paying athlete’s grants and support to avoid disputes and abuse of the grants and create a more stable situation in remunerating the athletes.
According to the Minister of Culture, a total of EUR 48.2 million was allocated to sports from the 2020 budget of the Ministry. She emphasised that in addition to state contributions, local government contributions also play an important role. Ott also reported that the state had supported the salaries of coaches with EUR 7.25 million in 2020. There has been a sudden increase in the popularity of the coaching profession. This process has benefited from the state and local support for coaches, a more diligent work of the sports federations, and training support for coaching students.
The Minister also touched on the support for parasports. “People with special needs are increasingly choosing an active and athletic lifestyle, and the state must ensure that they are well provided for in this respect,” Ott said. The state supported the work of the umbrella organisations for disabled people with EUR 1 million in 2020. The Minister also emphasised that the corona virus restrictions have been set up in a way as not to apply to the activities available for the disabled, including their social and professional rehabilitation services.
During the debate, Dmitri Dmitrijev (Centre Party), Kristina Šmigun-Vähi (Reform party), Indrek Saar (Social Democratic Party) and Raivo Tamm (Isamaa) took the floor.
One Bill passed the second reading
The Bill on Amendments to § 62 of the Code of Misdemeanour Procedure (215 SE), initiated by the Government, gives a person who has suffered immediate health damage or patrimonial damage due to a misdemeanour, and to their representative, the right to examine the collected information on the misdemeanour after adjudication of the misdemeanour as well as after its enforcement. This right does not extend to the various kinds of personal data on other people included in the misdemeanour file. The current regulation impedes the injured party in these cases from protecting their rights with sufficient efficiency.
The amendment also covers persons who suffer health damage as a direct consequence of a misdemeanour, in addition to persons who suffer immediate patrimonial damage, because e.g. traffic accidents sometimes create situations where the health damage is the only damage. The range of people has been limited to persons who suffer immediate patrimonial damage or immediate health damage in order to avoid disputes regarding moral damage that, as a general rule, should not be possible in misdemeanour proceedings.
The amendment will give an opportunity to consider, based on reading the facts of the misdemeanour, whether having recourse to court with a civil action is justified or not, and whether it is possible to achieve an out-of-court settlement regarding compensation for damage without burdening the court. Otherwise, the person who suffers immediate health damage or patrimonial damage as a consequence of a misdemeanour, and their representative, must first have recourse to a court who could then request the file from the body conducting extra-judicial proceedings.
The Bill also provides the purpose of receiving copies of the misdemeanour file. The proceeding party issues a full copy of the procedural document or the misdemeanour file to the person who has the right to read it. In addition to the person who suffered immediate health damage or patrimonial damage due to a misdemeanour, and their representative, this right also extends to the person who is subject to the proceedings, and their defence attorney.
Photos of the sitting (Author: Erik Peinar, Riigikogu)
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