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At its Wednesday's sitting, the Riigikogu approved an Act that enables legal persons to make donations for Ukraine tax-free until the end of this year.

The Act on Amendments to the Taxation Act (providing data on construction works) and the Income Tax Act (506 SE), initiated by the Government, provides that, in the construction sector, it is mandatory to determine a contractual chain and the time spent on the construction site. The main obligated person is the main contractor who, in addition to the obligation to identify the subcontractor, will also have the obligation to confirm in the online environment of the Tax and Customs Board, based on prefilled data, the construction works subject to the reporting obligation and to submit the data of the contracting entity of the contraction works.

The Act also enables to make donations to Ukraine tax-free through the associations specified in the Act in order to create better opportunities to help the Ukrainian people in the situation of war. The Act provides that the donations and gifts made by resident legal persons for maintaining the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine as well as for giving and organising humanitarian aid purposefully will be exempt from income tax until the end of this year.

The Act sets out specific associations to mediate the donations. They are the following: NPO Estonian Refugee Council, NPO Mondo, the Ukrainian Cultural Centre, the National Defence Promotion Foundation, the Estonian Red Cross, the Estonian Voluntary Rescue Association and Tallinn Old Town Rotary Club. Gifts and donations for special purposes made to these associations will be exempt from tax, as it is possible to address aid the most expediently through coordinated and targeted action.

During the debate, Henn Põlluaas took the floor on behalf of the Estonian Conservative People’s Party Faction and Aivar Kokk on behalf of Faction Isamaa.

50 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of passing the Act and 12 voted against.

The Riigikogu passed two Resolutions

The Resolution of the Riigikogu “Appointment of the Representative of Estonia to the Control Committee of the Nordic Investment Bank” (545 OE), submitted by the Finance Committee, provides for the appointment of Aivar Kokk as the representative of Estonia to the Control Committee of the Nordic Investment Bank from 1 June 2022 to 31 May 2024. The Control Committee is formed with the aim of ensuring conformity of the activities of the bank to its Statutes. The Control Committee is responsible for the audit of the accounting records of the bank, and submits the annual auditor’s report to the Board of Governors of the bank.

45 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of the Resolution, and there was one abstention.

The Resolution of the Riigikogu “Amendment of the Resolution of the Riigikogu “Formation of the Estonian Delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the North Atlantic Treaty Organizationˮ” (547 OE), submitted by the Foreign Affairs Committee, provides for the exclusion of the head of the Estonian delegation to the NATO PA Kerstin-Oudekki Loone from the delegation, and the appointment of Marko Šorin as the head of the delegation.

50 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of the Resolution.

One Bill passed the second reading

The second reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Aliens Act and the Act on Granting International Protection to Aliens (241 SE), initiated by the Government, which had been adjourned due to the end of the working hours at Tuesday’s plenary sitting, continued at the sitting. The Bill is intended to establish more flexible conditions for labour migration and learning mobility for people from third countries, as well as to simplify the inclusion of Ukrainian war refugees in the labour market.

The Bill has been drafted to ensure opportunities to stay in Estonia and to take up study and employment in Estonia for aliens who are contributing to Estonia’s development and whose stay here is in accordance with the public interests and the needs of the Estonian labour market, as well as in order to enhance the opportunities to verify compliance with the conditions for employment for aliens.

The purpose of the Bill is to organise the regulation for working in Estonia for aliens and the conditions for staying, studying and settling in Estonia for aliens, taking into account the constantly changing environment and the new needs arising therefrom as well as keeping in mind the objectives set out in various national development plans.

The aim of Estonia’s immigration policy is, on the one hand, to facilitate settlement in Estonia for aliens who bring greater added value to the whole society, and on the other hand to avoid abuse of residence permits and visas and illegal immigration in order to ensure security, public order and national security.

The Constitutional Committee, the Estonian Conservative People’s Party Faction, the Social Democratic Party Faction and Member of the Riigikogu Sven Sester had submitted 30 motions to amend the Bill.

For example, in the course of the second reading, amendments were incorporated into the Bill that concern providing urgent solutions to Ukrainian war refugees in their integration into the labour market, as well as giving a legal basis to their arrival in Estonia and their temporary stay in Estonia, and the provision of specifications for their employment. A remuneration requirement will be set out under which employers will be required to pay Ukrainian employees remuneration in an amount at least equal to the average gross annual salary in the relevant field of activity as published by Statistics Estonia multiplied by factor 0.8.

Amendments were also made regarding labour migration and learning mobility, in order to prevent and disrupt misuse in labour migration and learning mobility, and to facilitate finding top specialists from outside the European Union. In addition, amendments were incorporated that aim to facilitate technology-based start-ups to engage foreign labour.

During the debate, Jaak Valge (Estonian Conservative People’s Party), Aivar Kokk (Isamaa), Urmas Reitelmann (Estonian Conservative People’s Party), Martin Helme (Estonian Conservative People’s Party), Ruuben Kaalep (Estonian Conservative People’s Party), Alar Laneman (Estonian Conservative People’s Party), Kalle Grünthal (Estonian Conservative People’s Party), Kert Kingo (Estonian Conservative People’s Party), Helir-Valdor Seeder (Isamaa), Anti Poolamets (Estonian Conservative People’s Party), Priit Sibul (Isamaa), Merry Aart (Estonian Conservative People’s Party), Rene Kokk (Estonian Conservative People’s Party), Heiki Hepner (Isamaa), Tarmo Kruusimäe (Isamaa), Uno Kaskpeit (Estonian Conservative People’s Party), Riina Sikkut (Social Democratic Party), Leo Kunnas (Estonian Conservative People’s Party), Henn Põlluaas (Estonian Conservative People’s Party), Mart Helme (Estonian Conservative People’s Party) and Peeter Ernits (Estonian Conservative People’s Party) took the floor.

The Estonian Conservative People’s Party Faction and Faction Isamaa moved to suspend the second reading of the Bill. 19 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of the motion and 42 voted against. Thus, the motion was not supported and the second reading of the Bill was concluded.

The lead committee moved to include the Bill in the agenda for the Riigikogu plenary on 6 April for the third reading and to hold a final vote on the Bill.

One Bill passed the first reading

The Bill on Amendments to the President of the Republic Official Perquisites Act (525 SE), initiated by the Estonian Conservative People’s Party Faction, will amend in the Act on President’s official perquisites the list of the cases when a President who leaves office will not be able to use the perquisites. The list will be amended by adding the cases where the President who leaves office stands as a candidate for or is elected to the Riigikogu or the European Parliament, or is appointed to the position of a minister. The explanatory memorandum points out that, under the current Act, a President who leaves office is entitled to certain perquisites due to his or her special status. The perquisites include the entitlement to have at his or her disposal living quarters, reception rooms and work offices with reimbursement of rent and maintenance expenses by the state or to receive compensation from the state for reasonable expenses relating to the maintenance of the residence of the President; have an adviser and a secretary at his or her disposal who are public servants employed by the Office of the President of the Republic; receive a lump sum compensation payment in the extent of one year’s salary; use an official car and services related to the maintenance and use thereof at the expense of the state; and be reimbursed pursuant to the procedure specified in the Act for travel expenses and other justified expenses. After the end of the President’s mandate, the President is also paid a presidential pension at the rate of 75 percent of the President’s salary.

Minister of Education and Research Liina Kersna replied to interpellations concerning the closing down of schools in rural areas (No. 115) and concerning the reduction in support to the hobby education and activities for children (No. 117), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu.

During the debate, Tarmo Kruusimäe (Isamaa), Heiki Hepner (Isamaa) and Henn Põlluaas (Estonian Conservative People’s Party) took the floor in the deliberation of the interpellation concerning the closing down of schools in rural areas, and Indrek Saar (Social Democratic Party), Raimond Kaljulaid, Tarmo Kruusimäe (Isamaa) and Heiki Hepner (Isamaa) in the deliberation of the interpellation concerning hobby education.

The deliberation of three items on the agenda was deferred

The report for 2022 by Minister of Social Protection Signe Riisalo on the implementation of the long-term national development strategy “Estonia 2035” was cancelled in connection with the impossibility of deliberation due to the absence of the presenter.

The second reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Energy Sector Organisation Act and Amendments to Other Associated Acts (382 SE), initiated by the Government, and the Bill on Amendments to the Building Code and Amendments to Other Associated Acts (430 SE), initiated by the Government, and the first reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Cybersecurity Act, the Public Information Act and the Estonian Public Broadcasting Act (531 SE), initiated by the Government, and the Bill on the Ratification of the Agreement on Termination of the Agreement between the Republic of Estonia and the Republic of Austria for the Promotion and Protection of Investments (520 SE), initiated by the Government, were also cancelled due to the impossibility of deliberation arising from the absence of the presenter. The deliberation of these agenda items will be resumed in the next working week.

The sitting ended at 1.14 a.m. on 24 March.

Verbatim record of the sitting (in Estonian)

The video recording of the sitting will be available on the Riigikogu YouTube channel.
(Please note that the recording will be uploaded with a delay.)

Riigikogu Press Service
Merilin Kruuse
Phone: +372 631 6592, +372 510 6179
E-mail: [email protected]
Questions: [email protected]

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