At today’s sitting, the Riigikogu approved the Act that provides for increasing the permitted total amount or limit of guarantee contracts for the business and housing loans guaranteed by the state through Foundation KredEx, in order that the Foundation could continue to provide sureties for loans of businesses and home owners.
In the case of business loans, the permitted total amount of guarantee contracts rises from 160 million euro to 220 million euro, and in the case of housing loans, from 96 million euro to 170 million euro. This enables to continue to guarantee loans to the extent projected until 2022.
The raising of the limits creates the capacity to provide sureties mainly for loans of small and medium sized enterprises to a larger number of enterprises to a larger extent. This helps establish enterprises, extend their activities and make the working processes more efficient, and implement new solutions. The amendment also enables to continue to provide sureties for loans taken in order to acquire housing or improve living conditions.
82 members of the Riigikogu voted for the Act on Amendments to the Support of Enterprise and State Loan Guarantees Act (523 SE), initiated by the Government.
The Riigikogu passed two other Acts:
The Road Transport Act (488 SE), initiated by the Government, establishes a new consolidated text of the Road Transport Act because global amendments are made to the Act. The Act regulates the organisation of road transport and establishes the requirements for the persons organising road transport and for the related persons.
The Act eliminates the driver’s obligation to carry the documents certifying the right to engage in road transport in national transport operations. The driver has to carry an identity document in order that it would be possible to verify the data in the database, and the accompanying documents of goods may be electronic in the future.
The Act increases the liability of the carrier. The carrier organises its carriage operations through drivers, and therefore road transport infringements for which a driver has been punished can be considered infringements by the carrier. The amendments help ensure traffic and carriage safety as the carrier is directly liable for infringements committed in the carriage of goods organised by the carrier.
The Act creates misdemeanour liability of the consignor. At present, the driver or the carrier is liable for infringements of carriage requirements by the consignor in terms of misdemeanour procedure. According to the Act, the consignor of goods may also be held liable for infringement of the requirements for filling in the accompanying documents of goods and placing and fastening goods on the vehicle and covering them, in the case where the consignor places the goods into the load, and fastens and covers it.
If a driver has repeatedly not paid the fines imposed for serious road transport infringements and has committed a new serious road transport infringement, the police may apply for detention of a driver. According to the explanatory memorandum of the Bill, this amendment is important particularly with regard to drivers from foreign countries who fail to pay fines in a large number of cases and to whom the enforcement procedure does not apply.
The educational institutions organising the occupational and in-service training of drivers no longer have the obligation to apply for an activity licence for training drivers of power-driven vehicles issued by the Ministry of Education and Research. A periodic (after every five years) obligation of in-service training is established for lecturers of such educational institutions.
82 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of the Act.
The Constitution and the General Regulations of the Universal Postal Union (UPU) ratified by the Act on the Ratification of the Final Acts of the 26th Congress of the Universal Postal Union (535 SE), initiated by the Government, do not have a significant economic, social or other impact. The Constitution is the basic document of the UPU which contains the basic rules of the Union. The General Regulations are a document concerning the organisation the work of the UPU and they involve no additional obligations for member countries. The Convention regulates thoroughly the rules applicable to the letter-post and postal parcels services.
The Convention contains the rules applicable throughout the international postal service and it is binding on all member countries. Member countries ensure that their designated operators (Eesti Post Ltd in Estonia) fulfil the obligations arising out of the Convention.
73 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of the Act and 5 voted against.
One Bill passed the second reading in the Riigikogu:
Under the Bill on Amendments to the Basic Schools and Upper Secondary Schools Act and Amendments to Other Associated Acts (519 SE), initiated by the Government, local governments will have to organise basic education for pupils with special educational needs, that is, pupils who need support. In the organisation of studies, the principle of inclusive education continues to be observed. The state will continue to manage schools directed at children with special needs, but will agree with local governments upon the potential transfer of the management of such schools.
The Bill will establish a state budget support to cover the costs related to the application of the instruction of students who need enhanced support or special support, in order to increase the availability of the support services necessary for children. Under the Bill, the services of at least a special education teacher, a speech therapist, a psychologist and a social educator will be ensured at school. On the recommendation of an extra-school counselling team and with the consent of a parent, a school can apply enhanced support or special support to a student. The school will have the right to adjust the carrying out of studies accordingly, for which operating expenses will also be provided.
In addition to that, the Bill provides for a regulation for payment of national educational scholarships and awards to people working in educational institutions.
During the debate, Jürgen Ligi from the Reform Party Faction, Tiina Kangro from the Pro Patria and Res Publica Union Faction, Yoko Alender from the Reform Party Faction, Krista Aru from the Free Party Faction, Andres Ammas from the Free Party Faction, Monika Haukanõmm from the Free Party Faction, Toomas Jürgenstein from the Social Democratic Party Faction, Toomas Väinaste from the Centre Party Faction and Heljo Pikhof from the Social Democratic Party Faction took the floor and presented their positions.
The Reform Party Faction and the Free Party Faction moved to suspend the first reading of the Bill. 39 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of the motion and 43 were against. The motion was not supported. The second reading was concluded.
One Bill passed the first reading in the Riigikogu:
The Bill on Amendments to the Nature Conservation Act and the Forest Act (560 SE), initiated by the Estonian Centre Party Faction, the Pro Patria and Res Publica Union Faction and the Social Democratic Party Faction, will create an additional possibility to use also other sources, besides the state budget funds, for acquisition by the state of immovables with nature conservation restrictions, in order to ensure more efficient performance of the duty of the state. The Bill will give the State Forest Management Centre the right to purchase lands under nature conservation management.
An amendment provided for by the Bill will enable to also use the income from the sale of immovables that are not necessary for the activities of the profit-making state agency the State Forest Management Centre, and its net profit, in addition to the funds allocated from the state budget, in order to acquire immovables containing protected natural objects and to thereby significantly reduce the time limits of the proceedings for acquisition of the relevant immovables.
The Forest Act provides that the State Forest Management Centre uses the income received from the sale of immovables for acquisition of immovables for the State Forest Management Centre for the purposes of management of the state forest or generating income. The explanatory memorandum notes that the current Act does not provide for the possibility to use the income for another purpose. Therefore it is necessary to amend the provision so that the State Forest Management Centre as the representative of the state could use the income from the sale of immovables to perform also other functions of the state, and not only for the management of the state forest or for generating income. The aim of acquisition by the state of land with nature conservation restrictions specifically under § 20 of the Nature Conservation Act is to compensate to land owners for significant restrictions.
The Bill will amend the list of the entities who make decisions on the acquisition of property for the State Forest Management Centre. Under the second sentence of subsection 20 (2) of the Nature Conservation Act, the minister responsible for the field decides on acquisition of immovables. The explanatory memorandum notes that, since the motion to amend the last sentence of the same provision establishes that, upon acquisition by the state of lands with nature conservation restrictions, it will be possible to also use the funds of the State Forest Management Centre in addition to the use of the funds provided from the state budget, and the current procedure where the Estonian Land Board as the representative of the state prepares decisions on the acquisition of land will also remain in force, it is not justified in this regard to make amendments as to the entity who makes decisions on the acquisition of lands with nature conservation restrictions. Therefore it is necessary to include in the provision to be amended the specification to the effect that, upon acquisition of land under § 20 of the Nature Conservation Act, the minister responsible for the field will make the decision.
Külliki Kübarsepp from the Free Party Faction and Keit Pentus-Rosimannus from the Reform Party Faction took the floor during the debate.
Verbatim record of the sitting (in Estonian) http://stenogrammid.riigikogu.ee/en/201712191000.
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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