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The Bill that sets out which islands will belong to the list of small islands in the future, and provides for the carriage of passengers on the open load bed of a truck adapted for such purpose on small islands, passed the second reading at today’s plenary sitting of the Riigikogu.

The Bill on Amendments to the Permanently Inhabited Small Islands Act, the Traffic Act and the Earth’s Crust Act (493 SE), initiated by the Government, will amend the bases for compiling the list of the permanently inhabited small islands. In the future, the Government of the Republic will establish the list of the permanently inhabited small islands by a regulation. An island will belong to the list if its area is less than 100 square kilometres and if at least five persons resided there during the previous calendar year according to the data of the population register.

The state will support financially the local authorities on whose territory an island belonging to the list of the permanently inhabited small islands is located, in order to provide public services to the inhabitants of the island. The Bill is intended to make the system for supporting inhabitants of small islands more flexible and more conforming to the changing circumstances. At present, the list of the permanently inhabited small islands can be changed only by an Act. The Bill will simplify the making of changes to the list, and the list will be reviewed regularly.

Besides that, the Bill will allow passengers to be carried on the open load bed of a truck adapted for such purpose, if the speed of the truck remains below 40 km/h, on small islands. Passengers must not be carried in a trailer.

The Riigikogu suspended the second reading of the Bill on Amendments to § 34¹ of the Traffic Act (480 SE), initiated by the Economic Affairs Committee, due to the obligation to notify the European Commission of a technical regulation contained in the Bill. The legislative proceedings on the Bill will be resumed after the end of the notification procedure. The deadline for motions to amend is 12 a.m. on 5 December.

The Bill will extend the regulation established for special carriage of unprocessed roundwood also to other types of carriage. According to the Bill, special carriage of divisible goods may be performed under the conditions established by the relevant Regulation if it is done with a vehicle belonging to EURO 5 or a less polluting EURO-emission class. At the same time, all axles, except the axle with turning wheels, of the vehicles in the road train will have to be equipped with dual wheels. The laden mass of the road train must not exceed 48 tonnes in the case of a six-axle road train and 52 tonnes in the case of a seven- or more axle road train.

Under the Bill, special carriage will be performed on the road network designated by the road owner. The road owner grants the special permit. The owner has the right to set additional conditions on the carriage, but also to refuse to grant a permit if the special carriage may considerably harm the road or the conditions of safe road use cannot be fulfilled, for example.

Twelve drafts passed the first reading in the Riigikogu:

The Land Improvement Bill (524 SE), initiated by the Government, will comprehensively update the regulation of land improvement. Land improvement consists of two aspects generally: the building of new land improvement systems and the maintenance of the existing land improvement systems. As a result of the implementation of the planned regulation, the ability of the land improvement systems to function will improve first of all. The explanatory memorandum notes that, without functioning land improvement systems, 50 per cent of Estonian land zoned for agricultural and forestry use would be waterlogged and the use thereof would be complicated.

Significant amendments introduced by the Bill concern the qualifications and responsibility of the authorised specialist of an undertaking that operates in the field of land improvement. An obligation of in-service training every five years will be established for them. In the current Act, the role of the authorised specialist is more to advise the undertaking, but it should be more substantive. In view of that, it will be provided that the specialist does and inspects, or directs and assumes responsibility for what is done. At the same time, he or she must not be the authorised specialist of several undertakings if his or her workload does not enable him or her to perform employment duties according to requirements. That should lead to an improvement in the quality of building design documentation.

The Bill will amend the regulation of the management of land improvement systems as well as the land improvement association, according to which land improvement associations will no longer be non-profit associations but legal persons governed by private law. The principle of founding an association was not changed for owners of land improvement systems. An association as a legal person governed by private law will also be founded in accordance with the decision of the owners who own more than one third of the territory of the land improvement system or who own more than one third of the length of the jointly used recipient of the land improvement system located in the territory in which the association is to operate. There were 196 land improvement associations as at 2016.

In order to ensure the functioning of land improvement systems, a protection zone for artificial recipient will be provided for. Proper functioning of artificial recipients is a precondition for the functioning of the whole land improvement system. No plantation, high vegetation or permanent boundary fence must be created, and access to the artificial recipient and the civil engineering work thereof must not be obstructed in a protection zone. Also, no other construction work must be built without the approval or permission of the Agricultural Board.

11 draft Resolutions concerning international missions of the Defence Forces, submitted by the Government:

The Draft Resolution of the Riigikogu “Use of the Defence Forces in the Fulfilment of the International Commitments of the Estonian State in the Training and Capability Building Programme for Iraq Led by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization” (538 OE), submitted by the Government.

The draft Resolution provides for the extension of the time limit for the use of up to five active servicemen in the composition of the Training and Capability Building Programme for Iraq, led by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, until 31 December 2018, as of 1 January.

The Draft Resolution of the Riigikogu “Use of the Defence Forces in the Fulfilment of the International Commitments of the Estonian State in Another International Military Operation, Led by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization or its Member State, the European Union or the United Nations, upon the First Contribution thereto” (539 OE), submitted by the Government.

The draft Resolution provides for the use of up to 50 active servicemen of the Defence Forces, as necessary, from 1 January to 31 December 2018 in a military operation organised for the purpose of maintaining or restoring peace and security on the basis of the provisions of Chapters VI and VII of the Charter of the United Nations, led by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization or its member state, the European Union or the United Nations, or in any other military operation in compliance with generally recognised principles and provisions of international law, upon the first contribution thereto.

The Draft Resolution of the Riigikogu “Use of the Defence Forces in the Fulfilment of the International Commitments of the Estonian State in the Composition of the United Kingdom’s Joint Expeditionary Force” (540 OE), submitted by the Government.

The draft Resolution provides for the use of up to 20 active servicemen of the Defence Forces, as necessary, from 1 January to 31 December 2018 in the composition of the United Kingdom’s Joint Expeditionary Force in a military operation organised for the purpose of maintaining or restoring peace and security on the basis of Chapters VI and VII of the Charter of the United Nations, or in any other military operation in compliance with generally recognised practices and principles of international law.

The Draft Resolution of the Riigikogu “Extension of the Time Limit for the Use of the Defence Forces in the Fulfilment of the International Commitments of the Estonian State in the Peacekeeping Mission in Kosovo” (541 OE), submitted by the Government.

The draft Resolution provides for the extension of the time limit for the use of up to three active servicemen of the Defence Forces in the membership of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization-led Kosovo peacekeeping force KFOR (Kosovo Force) until 31 December 2018, as of 1 January.

The Draft Resolution of the Riigikogu “Use of the Defence Forces in the Fulfilment of the International Commitments of the Estonian State in the Composition of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Response Force” (542 OE), submitted by the Government.

The draft Resolution provides for the use of up to 200 active servicemen of the Defence Forces, as necessary, from 1 January to 31 December 2018 in the composition of the NATO Response Force NRF in a military operation organised for the purpose of maintaining or restoring peace and security on the basis of Chapters VI and VII of the Charter of the United Nations, or in any other military operation in compliance with generally recognised practices and principles of international law.

The Draft Resolution of the Riigikogu “Extension of the Time Limit for the Use of the Defence Forces in the Fulfilment of the International Commitments of the Estonian State in the Training and Advisory Mission in Afghanistan” (543 OE), submitted by the Government.

The draft Resolution provides for the extension of the time limit for the use of up to six active servicemen of the Defence Forces in the composition of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization-led training and advisory mission RSM (Resolute Support Mission) in Afghanistan until 31 December 2018, as of 1 January.

The Draft Resolution of the Riigikogu “Extension of the Time Limit for the Use of the Defence Forces in the Fulfilment of the International Commitments of the Estonian State in the International Military Operation “Inherent Resolve”” (544 OE), submitted by the Government.

The draft Resolution provides for the extension of the time limit for the use of up to ten active servicemen of the Defence Forces in the United States-led International Military Operation “Inherent Resolve” until 31 December 2018.

The Draft Resolution of the Riigikogu “Extension of the Time Limit for the Use of the Defence Forces in the Fulfilment of the International Commitments of the Estonian State in the European Union Military Mission EUNAVFOR Med/Sophia” (545 OE), submitted by the Government.

The draft Resolution provides for the extension of the time limit for the use of up to six active servicemen of the Defence Forces in the composition of the European Union-led military mission EUNAVFOR Med/Sophia until 31 December 2018, as of 1 January.

The Draft Resolution of the Riigikogu “Extension of the Time Limit for the Use of the Defence Forces in the Fulfilment of the International Commitments of the Estonian State in the European Union Training Mission and the UN Peacekeeping Mission in Mali” (546 OE), submitted by the Government.

The draft Resolution provides for the extension of the time limit for the use of up to ten active servicemen of the Defence Forces in the European Union Training Mission EUTM Mali (European Union Training Mission in Mali) until 31 December 2018, as of 1 January.

The draft Resolution will also extend the time limit for the use of up to ten active servicemen of the Defence Forces in Mali in the United Nations peacekeeping mission MINUSMA (United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali) until 31 December 2018, as of 1 January.

The Draft Resolution of the Riigikogu “Extension of the Time Limit for the Use of the Defence Forces in the Fulfilment of the International Commitments of the Estonian State in the UN Peacekeeping Mission in Lebanon” (547 OE), submitted by the Government.

The draft Resolution provides for the extension of the time limit for the use of up to 50 active servicemen of the Defence Forces in the composition of the United Nations-led international peacekeeping mission UNIFIL (United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon) in Lebanon until 31 December 2018, as of 1 January.

Draft Resolution of the Riigikogu “Extension of the Time Limit for the Use of the Defence Forces in the Fulfilment of the International Commitments of the Estonian State in the Post-Conflict Peacekeeping Mission in Lebanon, Israel, Egypt and Syria” (548 OE), submitted by the Government.

The draft Resolution provides for the extension of the time limit for the use of up to six active servicemen of the Defence Forces in the United Nations-led peacekeeping mission UNTSO (United Nations Truce Supervision Organization) in Lebanon, Israel, Egypt and Syria until 31 December 2018, as of 1 January.

A Bill was dropped from the proceedings of the Riigikogu:

The Bill on Amendments to the Public Transport Act and the Local Government Organisation Act (509 SE), initiated by the Estonian Reform Party Faction, provided for giving the local governments of Saaremaa, Muhumaa and Hiiumaa the possibility to organise ferry and air traffic.

The representative of the initiator of the Bill Urve Tiidus said that local governments knew best the wishes of local people and how to organise their movement. In her words, the Bill was intended to offer a faster decision-making process that was led by local governments, and a higher-quality service. Tiidus emphasised that local people wished to have more say in the drawing up of the schedules.

Member of the Economic Affairs Committee Märt Sults gave an overview of the discussion that had been held in the Economic Affairs Committee and noted that local governments and the state were cooperating in the drawing up of the schedules even without a duty arising from law.

Jaanus Marrandi, who took the floor on behalf of the Social Democratic Party Faction in the debate, said that the aim and the wording of the Bill diverged: the aim was to involve local governments, but the Bill spoke of the right to organise ferry and air traffic. He emphasised that such a wording would add confusion into the organisation of traffic, because it would not be clear who would have to organise it.

Andres Ammas, who spoke on behalf of the Free Party Faction, said that the Free Party supported the continuation of the proceedings on the Bill.

Urmas Kruuse, who spoke on behalf of the Reform Party Faction, said that it was an interesting Bill, and if a few deficiencies had been found in it, they could be solved together.

The lead committee moved to reject the Bill at the first reading; 36 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of the motion, 26 were against, and there was one abstention. Thus, the Bill was dropped from the legislative proceedings.

Verbatim record of the sitting (in Estonian).

Video recordings of the sittings of the Riigikogu can be viewed at: https://www.youtube.com/riigikogu

Riigikogu Press Service
Merilin Kruuse
phone +372 631 6353, +372 510 6179
E-mail merilin.kruuse@riigikogu.ee
questions press@riigikogu.ee

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