The Riigikogu concluded the second reading of nine Bills:
The content of the Bill on Amendments to the Riigikogu Rules of Procedure and Internal Rules Act (453 SE), initiated by the Estonian Centre Party Faction, the Estonian Reform Party Faction, the Estonian Green Party Faction, the Estonian People’s Union Faction, the Pro Patria and Res Publica Union Faction and the Social Democratic Party Faction, is to create the reporting system of the Riigikogu and to provide the obligation to prepare an explanatory memorandum of the Committee when submitting draft legislation in the legislative proceeding for the second reading. The Bill also provides amendments to the procedure for participation of members of the Government in Question Time of the Riigikogu. Factions will be given the possibility to initiate deliberation of a matter of significant national importance.
The Bill on Amendments to § 74 of the Public Service Act (521 SE), initiated by Members of the Riigikogu Mark Soosaar, Valdur Lahtvee, Mart Jüssi, Marek Strandberg, Toomas Trapido, Eiki Nestor, Peeter Kreitzberg, Hannes Rumm and Kalev Kotkas, changes the restriction which does not allow a state official who is released from office to be employed as a state official in another state office or in the local government over which he or she exercised supervision as a state official earlier.
The Bill on Amendments to the Social Benefits for Disabled Persons Act, the State Pension Insurance Act and the Social Welfare Act (567 SE), initiated by the Government, extends the term for identification of a degree of severity of a disability and the term of validity of the rehabilitation plan. Terms for identification of a degree of severity of a disability and permanent loss of incapacity for work and duration of the rehabilitation plan are also harmonised. The term for filling in the description of the state of health is also extended by the Bill. The procedure for providing special welfare services for people with mental disorder is also regulated.
The European Union Common Agricultural Policy Implementation Bill (540 SE), initiated by the Government, provides the issues connected with simplification and the health check of the CAP in accordance with the EU law. The Treaty establishing the European Community gives the legal basis for implementation of the European Union Common Agricultural Policy. The CAP has been created to fulfil its objectives and to guarantee the functioning and development of the common market of agricultural products. The CAP is financed from the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund and the related rural development measures are financed from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.
The Bill on Amendments to the Income Tax Act (550 SE), initiated by the Government, restricts deductions from the taxable income of resident natural persons, eliminating the right to deduct from income study loan interests and trade union entrance and membership fees.
The Bill on Amendments to the Value Added Tax Act and Associated Acts (551 SE), initiated by the Government, takes over the amendments to the Council Directive on value added tax concerning determining of the place of creating the supply of services, the procedure for refunding VAT to non-residents, and reporting of intra-Community turnover. In order to prevent tax evasions with excise goods, 0% taxation rate will be imposed on the transactions within excise warehouse, like in customs warehouse and tax warehouse, instead of the current 18% rate. To prevent tax evasions, the Act will give the tax administrator the right to request the provision of security from the handler of excise goods if there is a reason to suspect that the tax liability will not be observed. The Bill amends the definition of supply by adding the compulsory purchase of goods.
The State Export Guarantees Bill (565 SE), initiated by the Government, provides totally new bases for granting state guarantees for export transactions as compared to the Act which is currently in force, including issue of export guarantees [eksporditagatis] instead of export guarantees [ekspordigarantii], issue of export guarantees by companies, and new principles in participation of the state in fulfilment of claims of guarantee holders. The Bill also enables to significantly increase the total amount of export transactions to which state guarantee is granted. In the future, an insurance undertaking with state participation engaging in credit insurance which will be established for export guarantees and to which the Insurance Activities Act will apply will be engaging in grant of state export guarantees instead of the foundation and, in the future, the new Act will regulate only specifications relating to state export guarantees.
The Bill on Amendments to the Accounting Act and Associated Acts (517 SE), initiated by the Government, amends the Accounting Act, the Commercial Code, the Trade Unions Act, the Political Parties Act, the Churches and Congregations Act, the Local Government Associations Act, the Apartment Associations Act, the Land Improvement Act, the Non-profit Associations Act, the Notaries Act, the Foundations Act, the Consumer Protection Act and the Commercial Associations Act. The Bill specifies the regulation of the submission of the annual reports of companies, non-profit associations and foundations to the registration departments of county courts and provides the basis for establishing a taxonomy of the annual report.
The State Assets Bill (437 SE),initiated by the Government. For ensuring efficiency and making decisions, it is important that information concerning assets belonging to the state and transactions concluded therewith would be available, comprehensive and systematised. According to the new State Assets Bill, the Ministry of Finance will be the main authority who exercises supervision over the administration and use of state assets. Also, it is the duty of the Ministry of Finance to make proposals to the Government for developing the real estate policy of the state. For exercising supervision and making proposals, the Ministry of Finance needs objective information about the amount and condition of and transactions concerning the state real estate. State authorities as users of assets need an overview of the use of their assets and agreements entered into with regard to it. It is also important that administrators of state assets have an opportunity to forward offers and notices to other administrators of state assets through an electronic channel in order to stop the labour-consuming practice of sending circulars.
The Riigikogu concluded the first reading of nine drafts:
The Bill on Amendments to the Estonian Academy of Sciences Act (588 SE), initiated by the Government, amends the status of members and organisation of management of the Academy. There are three kinds of amendments: the composition of membership is specified, organisation of determining academicians’ remuneration is amended and organisation of establishing the institutions of the Academy is amended.
The Bill on Amendments to the Personal Data Protection Act, the Public Information Act and the Archives Act (564 SE), initiated by the Government, amends the procedure for the registration of processing of sensitive personal data as provided in the Personal Data Protection Act such that the procedure is as simple and economic as possible.
The Bill on Accession to the United Nations Convention against Corruption (566 SE),initiated by the Government. The purpose of the Convention is to combat corruption effectively in all its forms in both public and private sectors. At the same time, the problem is approached not by strict criminalisation of acts of corruption but much attention is also paid to the prevention of corruption, deterring of laundering of proceeds of crime, returning of assets to the countries of origin, transparent and honest management of public affairs, and cooperation of states both in law and in the development of other anti-corruption measures. Aside from obligatory provisions, the Convention includes measures of, to a large part, recommending character which allows states more possibilities to observe it.
Draft Resolution of the Riigikogu “Approval of the Consolidated Report of the Economic Year of 2008 of the State” (577 OE), submitted by the Government. The consolidated report consists of the management report and the annual accounts. The consolidated report also includes the audit report of the National Audit Office.
The major impact of the Bill on Amendments to the Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Prevention Act and Associated Acts (589 SE), initiated by the Government, is an increased credibility and transparency of the economic environment in connection with bringing the regulation into conformity with international standards and ensuring improved legal certainty of the activities of the Financial Intelligence Unit and the Financial Supervision Authority.
The purpose of the Bill on Amendments to the Alcohol, Tobacco, Fuel and Electricity Excise Duty Act (168 SE), initiated by the Government, is to raise excise duty rates of alcohol and tobacco products. The Government proposes to raise alcohol excise duty by 10 per cent as of 1 January next year and tobacco excise duty by 20 per cent as of 1 January 2011.
The Bill on Amendments to the Income Tax Act and an Associated Act (586 SE),initiated by the Government, cancels the reduction of the income tax rate and increase of the basic exemption rate provided in the Act which is currently in force. Thus, income tax rate is fixed to 21 per cent as established for 2009 and basic exemption is fixed to 27 000 kroons.
The Bill on Amendments to the Aviation Act (563 SE), initiated by the Government, amends the wording of the Act by adding the name of the organisation “National Defence League”. The specification is necessary because, according to the wording which is currently in force, it is impossible to maintain records and process the data concerning the aircraft belonging to the National Defence League in the military aviation aircraft register. Besides the military aviation aircraft register, there is also an aircraft register which does not include the aircraft used for performing the functions of the Defence Forces (and, according to the new wording, those of the National Defence League).
The Bill on Amendments to § 197 of the Defence Forces Service Act (545 SE), initiated by the National Defence Committee, discusses the bases for calculating the pension of retired members of the Defence Forces and reservists.
The Auditor General Mihkel Oviir gave an overview of the use and preservation of state assets in 2008.
At Question Time, the Minister of the Environment Jaanus Tamkivi answered the question about land auction, submitted by Toomas Varek, the question about reserves of Nabala deposit, submitted by Valdur Lahtvee, and the question concerning the Statement of the Riigikogu on the gas pipeline to be built by Nord Stream, submitted by Mark Soosaar. The Minister of Internal Affairs Marko Pomerants answered the question about the notification of a suspicion of crime by Äripäev, submitted by Kalle Laanet. The Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Paet answered the question about the coming year’s budget of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, submitted by Enn Eesmaa.
The sitting ended at 6.20 p.m.
The Riigikogu Press Service