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The Bill on Amendments to the Anti-corruption Act, initiated by the Constitutional Committee, passed the second reading in the Riigikogu today. The main aim of the Bill is to simplify the declaration of interests by officials.

Five motions to amend had been introduced during the proceedings on the Bill (143 SE). Member of the Constitutional Committee Andres Anvelt explained the content of the motions to amend that concerned the differentiation between public sector and private sector corruption, and proprietary benefits received and granted by the declarant and the declaration thereof. According to a motion to amend, the Act will enter into force on 1 May this year.

Representative of the Centre Party Faction Mihhail Stalnuhhin took the floor during the debate. He drew attention to the statistics on crimes of corruption in state authorities and local governments.

The Bill on Amendments to the Nature Conservation Act (155 SE), initiated by the Government, also passed the second reading. It will amend the provisions concerning alien species in the Act. The Bill will implement the rules arising from European Union law with a view to prevent the introduction of invasive species.

The Environmental Board will be designated the authority in Estonia empowered to issue permits for keeping, breeding or use, as well as the import, transport and transit of alien species. The Environmental Board has similar tasks also at present.

The Bill provides for increase of the rate of the fine for violation of the requirements for the use of alien species to 32 000 euro for legal persons. At present, the fine rate is ten times lower, 3200 euro.

The Chairman of the Environment Committee Rainer Vakra said that 12 motions to amend the Bill had been submitted. He pointed out that, according to an amendment, it will be possible to send a notice concerning the initiation of the proceedings for placing a natural object under protection and a protection obligation notice also electronically, in addition to registered mail.

According to an amendment, there will be possibility to apply for nature conservation subsidy upon performance of work necessary for preservation of semi-natural biotic communities prescribed by an action plan for species or a habitat action plan. According to the new wording of the Bill, the Minister of the Environment will have the right to establish by a Regulation the procedure for reclamation of the nature conservation subsidy paid to the possessor of an immovable.

Also, an amendment was introduced into the Act under which, for national defence purposes, for example, erection, reconstruction and expansion of new roads, utility works or non-production construction works may be permitted in a conservation zone of a nature reserve where construction is prohibited as a general rule, by the protection rules of the nature reserve. Another amendment provides that, on shores and banks, the building ban will not extend to the installation of underground cable lines and construction of utility networks and technical infrastructure at an existing residential building.

The Bill also provides that all protection rules of the protected areas and natural monuments formed under the Act will have to be adopted by 1 May 2023.

Külliki Kübarsepp and Jüri Adams from the Free Party Faction, Mark Soosaar from the Social Democratic Party Faction, Peeter Ernits from the Centre Party Faction and Keit Pentus-Rosimannus from the Reform Party Faction took the floor during the debate.

The Riigikogu concluded the first reading of the Draft Resolution of the Riigikogu “Increasing of the Reserve Capital of Eesti Pank” (183 OE), submitted by the Finance Committee. The Chairman of the Finance Committee Remo Holsmer said that the aim of the Bill is to enable Eesti Pank to continue to increase the reserve capital by 200 million euro, to 300 million euro. He explained that Eesti Pank considers it necessary to increase its capital buffers in view of risk assessments and comparisons with the capital resources of other central banks belonging to the European system of central banks.

Martin Helme took the floor during the debate. Remo Holsmer replied to his speech with a comment.

The Draft Resolution of the Riigikogu “Making a Proposal to the Government of the Republic” (147 OE), submitted by the Centre Party Faction, was at the first reading in the Riigikogu. It provides for binding the receiving of the parental benefit with the obligation to take the child to medical examinations.

Olga Ivanova, who presented the draft Resolution, said that family physicians do have the obligation to observe the children, but parents have no obligation to take the children to observation. “The system has been built solely on the sense of responsibility of parents,” Ivanova said. She said that the binding of the obligation to take the child to medical examinations with the parental benefit would motivate economically unprivileged parents, as the benefit is money that parents count on every month.

Marika Tuus-Laul, who took the floor on behalf of the Centre Party faction in the debate, asked for support for the draft Resolution. Vilja Toomast, who took the floor on behalf of the Reform Party, Monika Haukanõmm, who spoke on behalf of the Free Party Faction, and Helmen Kütt, who spoke on behalf of the Social Democratic Party Faction, pointed out the reasons why the proposal failed to meet the desired objective.

The proceedings on this draft Resolution were adjourned due to the end of the working hours of the Riigikogu sitting and they will be resumed tomorrow.

Verbatim record of the sitting (in Estonian).

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.)

Riigikogu Press Service

Epp-Mare Kukemelk

6316356; 515 3903

epp-mare.kukemelk@riigikogu.ee

Questions: press@riigikogu.ee

 

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