At today’s sitting of the Riigikogu, the Bill on Amendments to the Security Authorities Act and Other Acts (383 SE), initiated by the Government, passed the first reading. It will organise the regulation concerning the shadow information and covert measures necessary for the performance of the functions of security authorities, with a view to enhancing the work of security authorities.
It clearly provides for the right of security authorities to use shadow information or covert measures for the purpose of concealing the persons performing an activity, the purpose of an activity, and the ownership of rights and obligations and an immovable and movable used.
According to the Bill, it will be possible for security authorities to use undercover agents in the performance of their functions. The amendments will also give the head of a security authority the right to establish a legal person or to acquire a holding in one by using covert data, and will give security authorities the right to use covert staff employees to covertly collect information or to ensure covert collection of information.
In addition, the Bill provides that the Information Board will be renamed as the Foreign Intelligence Agency because this will better convey the content of the main work of the agency which is intelligence and transmission of intelligence information.
The representative of the initiator of the Bill, the Minister of the Interior Andres Anvelt said that, as an important amendment, the Bill would provide for the methods for obtaining the permission of a judge for acts requiring permission of a court for security authorities. He added that, according to updates, in the case of unavoidable necessity, a judge may grant permission in any format which can be reproduced. Second, the minister pointed out that the measures used to covertly collect information, including involvement in secret cooperation and simulation of a legal person, would be regulated more clearly. Third, Anvelt pointed out that the Bill provided more specifically the rights of persons involved in secret cooperation, and those close to them, including for example in the case an accident occurs in the course of such work, and the payment of compensation in the event of incapacity for work or death. The minister noted that the Bill would also harmonise the requirements concerning the supervision of security authorities, and the name of the Information Board would be replaced by the name “Foreign Intelligence Agency”.
The Chairman of the Constitutional Committee Ken-Marti Vaher, who took the floor on behalf of the lead committee, gave an overview of the Bill and the discussions that had been held in the Committee. He noted that these amendments are important above all for better ensuring the rights of persons involved in secret cooperation. Vaher also pointed out the positions in connection with the changing of the name of the Information Board that had been discussed in the Committee.
One Bill passed the second reading in the Riigikogu:
The Bill on Amendments to the Traffic Act, the State Fees Act and the Product Conformity Act (281 SE), initiated by the Government, will implement the relevant EU Regulations on the type-approval and market surveillance of two- or three-wheel vehicles and quadricycles, and agricultural and forestry vehicles, and on tachographs in road transport.
The Road Administration will be given the rights of a market surveillance authority. Thus the Road Administration will be able to check that not only vehicles registered in the traffic register but also other vehicles subject to type-approval that are made available on the market for the population would have a type-approval. A type-approval is necessary in order that it would be proved that vehicles comply with the safety and environmental requirements. Besides, the EU single type-approval allows vehicles to be sold and used without restrictions in the EU. The amendment will have a major impact on the market for vehicles that do not have to be registered in the traffic register, e.g. mini mopeds.
The Bill will amend the requirements for application, issue and revocation of cards of drivers of power-driven vehicles equipped with a mandatory tachograph.
Two other drafts passed the first reading:
The Population Register Bill (382 SE), initiated by the Government, will present a new comprehensive updated regulation. With the most important amendment, the data entered into the population register will be given legal effect. Contact details (e-mail address and telephone number), and vital statistics data based on statements in the case of which the data of source documents are lacking from the register, have no legal effect. The Bill will reduce the deadlines for submission of residential address. Under the current Act, a person must submit the data of a new residence within thirty days after moving to the new residence. In the future, the term will be fourteen days. In addition, the owner of a space will be notified of amendments to the data related to his or her spaces via the e-mail address “eesti.ee”.
The Bill will also make several important amendments regarding the maintenance of the register – in granting accesses, the entry into multilateral contracts provided for in the current Act has been eliminated. In the future, access will be decided on by an administrative act. Also, a new working environment for processing accesses will be created for easier processing of applications to gain access and of rights to access. The Constitutional Committee was appointed as the lead committee.
Jüri Adams from the Free Party Faction took the floor during the debate.
The Draft Resolution of the Riigikogu “Increasing of the State Guarantee Given to the Nordic Investment Bank” (389 OE), submitted by the Government.
The Resolution of the Riigikogu grants consent to increase the guarantees of Estonia issued for two loan instruments of the Nordic Investment Bank (NIB), as a result of which Estonia’s share in percentage of guarantees issued for NIB will become equal to Estonia’s holding in the share capital of NIB.
NIB has two special loan instruments PIL (Project Investment Loan Facility) and MIL (Environmental Investment Loan Facility). Member countries undertake to guarantee loans made within the framework of these instruments. According to the Resolution of the Riigikogu, Estonia agrees to increase the state guarantee for project investment loans and project investment guarantees (PIL) made and issued by the Nordic Investment Bank from 13.1 million euro to 16.4 million euro, and the state guarantee for environmental investment loans and environmental investment loan guarantees (MIL) from 2.1 million euro to 2.7 million euro. NIB will enter into new guarantee contracts after the adjustment of guarantee commitments.
As a result of the Resolution, Estonia’s potential liability before NIB to guarantee PIL and MIL loans and guarantees thereof will increase. In the history of the bank, during 40 years, a guarantee of member countries has been collected in the case of one project, and the realisation of a guarantee is considered not very likely.
NIB pays dividends to member countries according to their share of paid-in capital. Of the profit of 2015 which was around 215.4 million euro, 55 million euro was paid as dividends. Of that, Estonia’s share has been around 401 000 euro. According to the new holding, the amount of dividends due to Estonia would be around 495 000 euro.
The aim of NIB is to make long-term loans to investment projects in order to implement environment-friendly projects that strengthen the competitiveness of the Nordic and Baltic countries. Loans are made to both the private and public sector in the Nordic countries and elsewhere, in nearly 40 countries in total. The main areas of activity are energy, environment, transport, logistics, communication and innovation.
The deliberation of a Bill was adjourned in the Riigikogu due to the end of the working hours:
The Bill on Amendments to the Social Tax Act (364 SE), initiated by the Estonian Free Party Faction, provides for the establishment of an upper limit to the social tax. So far no limit for the social tax has been established in Estonia. It is a new phenomenon in Estonian tax policy. The Bill is intended to facilitate high-salaried top-specialists coming to and remaining in Estonia, as well as creation of new high-salary jobs in order to help Estonian economy become smarter and more productive. The obligation to pay social tax will remain in place in the case of average gross earnings amounting to up to four times the average median payment of three quarters of a year. The Government will establish the rate thereof by its Regulation annually according to statistical data compiled by the Tax and Customs Board. Income from salary above this limit will not be subject to social tax. As at the second quarter of 2016, according to the Bill, the limit for social tax would be 3 432 euro.
Jürgen Ligi from the Reform Party Faction, Kalvi Kõva from the Social Democratic Party Faction and Andres Ammas from the Free Party Faction took the floor during the debate.
The deliberation of the Bill was adjourned due to the end of the working hours of the Riigikogu and the proceedings on the Bill will be continued at Wednesday’s sitting.
At the beginning of the sitting of the Riigikogu, the Deputy Chancellor of Justice-Adviser Olari Koppel took his oath of office.
Verbatim record of the sitting (in Estonian) http://stenogrammid.riigikogu.ee/en/201703071000
Video recordings of the sittings of the Riigikogu can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/riigikogu (NB! The recording will be uploaded with a delay.)
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