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At today’s remote-participation sitting, the Riigikogu passed three Acts.

The Act on Amendments to the European Union Common Agricultural Policy Implementation Act (227 SE), initiated by the Government, specifies, as regards the implementation of the aid in the apiculture sector, the content of the activity report drawn up for the apiculture year, and the source documents for eligible costs necessary for obtaining aid in the apiculture sector. It is provided that the activity report drawn up for the apiculture year must contain the results of the apiculture programme, besides a description of the activities. This will enhance the implementation of the apiculture programme because, starting from 2018, the participating Member States are required to notify to the European Commission a report based on the performance indicators for the apiculture year.

According to the Act, the eligible costs of implementing the apiculture programme are compensated on the basis of the payment claim and cost receipts submitted electronically to the Estonian Agricultural Registers and Information Board via the electronic e-service environment of the Estonian Agricultural Registers and Information Board. Compared to the current procedure, compensation will no longer be based on the activity report approved by the evaluation committee. The aim of the activity report is to evaluate the qualitative implementation of the programme and the report is not needed to evaluate the eligibility of the activities carried out. A payment claim and the documents proving the expenditure incurred are sufficient for this.

In addition, the Act is brought into conformity with European Union law by including two measures in the list of measures of the Rural Development Plan, support for restoring agricultural potential and support for agricultural insurance, in the case of which applications no longer need to be evaluated. Thus, application rounds will be open all year round.

88 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of passing the Act.

The Act on Amendments to the European Union Common Agricultural Policy Implementation Act (245 SE), initiated by the Government, clarifies the application for an import licence for hemp seeds. The amendments concern the licences for hemp seeds other than for sowing, for example, those used as feedingstuff or for pressing oil. In order that the requirements in place would be unambiguously and clearly understandable to holders of licences in the future, the obligation to submit documents on the use of hemp seeds, the arrangements for authorisation and the carrying out of checks are provided for by law.

The Act provides that, before a person acquires an import licence, he or she needs to obtain authorisation from the Estonian Agricultural Registers and Information Board. He or she needs to submit documents on the use of hemp seeds to the Estonian Agricultural Registers and Information Board within 12 months. The Estonian Agricultural Registers and Information Board is given the competence to carry out checks on compliance with the requirements for the use of hemp seeds.

Practice has shown that operators fail to meet their obligations assumed under a licence. The obligation to submit documents derives from EU law under which, in the case of release for free circulation of hemp seeds other than for sowing, the import licence is issued only where the authorised importer undertakes that the authorities competent for checks concerning the relevant operations in the Member State where the importer is authorised are provided, within the time limits and under the conditions set by the Member State, with documents. The same Regulation sets out the obligation of the Member State to approve the importer and to carry out checks. Thus, an authorisation by the Estonian Agricultural Registers and Information Board is a precondition for obtaining a licence, and submission of the documents within 12 months as of the issue of the licence is a side-condition.

85 members of the Riigikogu were in favour of passing the Act.

The Act on Amendments to the Value Added Tax Act and the Customs Act (239 SE), initiated by the Government, transposes the amendments to the EU Value-Added Tax Act Directive that change the taxation of electronic commerce between Member States and eliminate the tax exemption established for imports of small consignments of a value of up to 22 euro.

Under the Act, the Value-Added Tax Act is amended by providing for a special scheme for charging value added tax (VAT) on services, intra-Community distance sales and transfer of goods through online marketplaces, a special scheme for distance sales of goods imported from non-Community countries, and special arrangements for declaration and payment of VAT on imported goods. Under the special schemes, the arrangements in place for electronic communications services and electronically supplied services from 1 January 2015 are also extended to other services the place of supply of which is in another Member State and to intra-Community distance sales, and a similar special scheme for distance sales of goods imported from non-Community countries is established.

The Act also simplifies compliance with VAT-liability upon the import of small consignments to which the special scheme for distance sales of goods imported from non-Community countries is not applied. An amendment eliminates the thresholds for intra-Community distance sales in place and, in the case of intra-Community distance sales of goods, 10,000 euro is the uniform threshold across the EU at which a tax liability arises in the other country. The exemption for goods of negligible value (up to 22 euro) imported from non-Community countries is also eliminated. In addition, separate provisions are provided for regarding persons who facilitate distance sales of goods through online marketplaces.

The proposed amendment to the Customs Act specify in the interests of legal clarity the submission of data necessary to check compliance with the requirements for the importation into Estonia and exportation from Estonia of goods subject to prohibitions and restrictions.

83 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of passing the Act.

One Bill passed the second reading

The Bill on Amendments to the Imprisonment Act and Amendments to Other Associated Acts (transfer of the tasks of detention house) (275 SE), initiated by the Government, will create the possibility to also detain the detained persons punished by arrest, the persons detained for a short term (for 48 hours) and the persons taken to recover from intoxication in regional prisons, in addition to convicted offenders and persons held in custody.

As custodial institutions with the same tasks are operating in Tartu and Jõhvi, the Bill proposes to save on costs and to transfer the tasks of Tartu detention house to Tartu Prison and the tasks of Jõhvi detention house to Viru Prison so that the institutions could focus on their main activities. The amendment does not concern other regions of Estonia.

As a result of the amendment, 221 custodial places would be eliminated in Estonia. The fixed costs of maintaining custodial institutions, which also need to be borne for a large part in the situation where custodial institutions have low occupancy, would also decrease significantly.

Kert Kingo (Estonian Conservative People’s Party), took the floor during the debate, and on behalf of the Estonian Conservative People’s Party Faction moved to suspend the proceedings on the Bill at the second reading. 18 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of the motion and 56 voted against. Thus, the motion was not supported and the second reading was concluded.

Verbatim record of the sitting (in Estonian)

Video recordings of the sittings of the Riigikogu can be viewed on the Riigikogu YouTube channel.
(Please note that the recording will be uploaded with a delay.)

Riigikogu Press Service
Liisa Johanna Lukk
Phone: +372 631 6456, +372 5331 0789
E-mail: [email protected]
Questions: [email protected]

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