The Bill on climatic conditions affecting agriculture passed the first reading
The Bill intended to provide for a provision delegating authority to the Government to recognise adverse climatic events, initiated by the Rural Affairs Committee, passed the first reading in the Riigikogu today. According to the Bill, the Government may recognise, by an order, the occurrence of adverse climatic events that cause important economic damage to farmers and are significantly different from ordinary weather conditions.
The Bill on Amendments to the Rural Development and Agricultural Market Regulation Act (788 SE), initiated by the Rural Affairs Committee, has been drafted in connection with the need to provide for a provision delegating authority to the Government to recognise by an order the occurrence of a situation in the case of which weather conditions may cause important damage to the economic activity of farmers. Thereby, a message that an extraordinary situation has arisen is sent at national level to society, as well as farmers, and other persons and organisations involved in the value chain of agricultural products.
The need to amend the Rural Development and Agricultural Market Regulation Act aggravated due to the exceptionally hot and dry summer of 2018, but autumn 2017 with considerably more than average precipitation was also complicated for the agricultural sector.
The explanatory memorandum states that weather conditions that can be considered significantly different from ordinary weather conditions on the basis of long-term observation data have become more frequent in recent years. For example, in 2017, the beginning of the growing period was cooler than usual and therefore the harvesting period was also delayed. However, the harvesting period was rainy, and many farmers could not harvest, or incurred post-harvest costs that were significantly higher compared to usual years. The spring and summer of 2018 were very hot and dry which decreased the crop harvest by nearly 30 per cent, according to forecast.
As a result of both of the cases described above, a situation may arise where farmers experience economic difficulties because they are unable to ensure the agreed supply or it is impossible for them to service their loan obligations due to a lack of circulating capital. In view of that, several farmers and their representation organisations have found that the minister responsible for the field must have more possibilities to help farmers who are in the situation described above. An order recognising the occurrence of the above-mentioned adverse climatic events will provide moral help to farmers in negotiations with their cooperation partners.
The weather conditions will be assessed on the basis of the long-term observation data collected about ordinary years.
The order specified in the Bill will only have informative content and will not affect the contractual relations of farmers.
Another Bill passed the first reading in the Riigikogu:
The Bill on Amendments to the Estonian Defence League Act (786 SE), initiated by Member of the Riigikogu Ants Laaneots, will specify the co-operation of the Defence League with the Defence Forces in reservist trainings, in preparation for the collective self-defence of the state in cases of military crises and in the exercise thereof, and upon participation in international military cooperation. Where necessary, the Government of the Republic will establish additional duties for the Defence League by an order.
The concept of “direct coercion” which is directly linked to the new Chapter “Restricted Military Area of the Defence League” has been set out and explained in detail in section 52 of the Act on Amendments to National Defence League Act.
In addition, the Bill will extend the entitlement of an active member of the Defence League to unpaid holidays for up to 30 days from his or her employer upon participation in military training or involvement in the activities of the Defence Forces or law enforcement. The Defence League may pay compensation for such a holiday. Under the current Act, compensation is paid to the extent of up to five days.
The Riigikogu did not pass a Resolution:
The Draft Resolution of the Riigikogu “Making a Proposal to the Government of the Republic to Suspend the Process of Ratification of the Border Treaty between the Republic of Estonia and the Russian Federation” (767 OE), submitted by the Estonian Conservative People’s Party Faction, was intended to propose to suspend the ratification of the border treaty between the Republic of Estonia and the Russian Federation and to withdraw Estonia’s signature from the abovementioned border treaty.
Martin Helme from the Estonian Conservative People’s Party Faction took the floor during the debate.
A majority vote of the members of the Riigikogu was needed for the Resolution to be passed. 14 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of the Resolution and 51 were against. Thus the Resolution was not passed.
A Bill was dropped from the proceedings of the Riigikogu:
The Bill on Amendments to the Nature Conservation Act and the Forest Act (755 SE), initiated by members of the Riigikogu Jaanus Karilaid, Keit Pentus-Rosimannus, Helmen Kütt, Madis Milling, Liina Kersna, Marianne Mikko, Eiki Nestor, Jevgeni Ossinovski, Oudekki Loone, Hannes Hanso, Heimar Lenk, Hardi Volmer, Toomas Jürgenstein, Heljo Pikhof, Heidy Purga, Inara Luigas, Barbi Pilvre and Yoko Alender, provided for prohibition of the keeping of animals only or mainly for the purpose of producing fur, as well as breeding and reproduction of animals only or mainly for the purpose of producing fur. This prohibition was intended to be applied with regard to animal keepers from 1 June 2024.
Barbi Pilvre, who made a report on behalf of the initiators, said that the initiators of the Bill continued to be convinced that the industry was a thing of the past and should be shut down also in Estonia.
Chairman of the Environment Committee Rainer Vakra introduced the discussions that had been held at the committee sittings, and the positions of the committee members. He pointed out that the Committee moved to reject the Bill at the first reading. Vakra noted that, in any case, it could be seen that, notwithstanding the vote in the session hall, the issue was topical, and very many Estonian people cared about it.
During the debate, Peeter Ernits and Heljo Pikhof from the Social Democratic Party Faction, Mihhail Stalnuhhin from the Centre Party Faction and Jürgen Ligi from the Reform Party Faction took the floor.
The lead committee moved to reject the Bill at the first reading. 28 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of the motion, 25 were against, and there was one abstention. Thus, the Bill was dropped from the legislative proceedings.
Verbatim record of the sitting (in Estonian) http://stenogrammid.riigikogu.ee/et/201901221000.
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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