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At today’s Riigikogu sitting, the Bill which will enable digital exchange of health data between European countries passed the first reading.

The Bill on Amendments to the Health Services Organisation Act and the Medicinal Products Act (689 SE), initiated by the Social Affairs Committee, concerns both treatment data and prescriptions.

The development and the legal space supporting it will allow to ensure a better service for the patient as well as health care providers and pharmacies in the future.

During the debate, Tanel Talve (Social Democratic Party) took the floor on behalf of his faction.

The Riigikogu passed a Resolution:

The Resolution of the Riigikogu “Amendment of the Resolution of the Riigikogu “Formation of the Riigikogu Study Committee to Draw Up the Development Objectives for the State Reform”” (688 OE), submitted by the Social Democratic Party Faction, provides for the appointment of Kalvi Kõva as a substitute member of the study committee to replace Liisa Oviir.

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

Three Bills passed the second reading in the Riigikogu:

The Bill on Amendments to the Gambling Tax Act and the Cultural Endowment of Estonia Act (632 SE), initiated by the Government, will amend the distribution of the gambling tax received into the state budget between the Cultural Endowment of Estonia and the areas of government of the ministries. The aim of the amendment is more transparent and purposeful distribution of state budget funds. As ministries will plan how the revenue planned from gambling tax will be used for supports, the supports will no longer be distributed through the Gambling Tax Council and it will be eliminated. Under the Bill, the funding of the Estonian Red Cross will no longer be provided for in the Act. In the future, the funding of the Estonian Red Cross will continue through the budget of the Ministry of Social Affairs.

During the debate, Lauri Luik (Reform Party), Monika Haukanõmm (Estonian Free Party), Mihhail Stalnuhhin (Centre Party), Peeter Ernits and Henn Põlluaas (Estonian Conservative People’s Party) took the floor on behalf of factions.

The Estonian Conservative People’s Party Faction moved to suspend the second reading of the Bill. 14 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of the motion, 40 were against, and there were four abstentions. The motion was not supported and the second reading was concluded.

Under the Bill on Amendments to the Act on Amendments to the Social Tax Act and the Income Tax Act, the Waste Act and the Social Welfare Act (685 SE), initiated by the Government, more flexible possibilities for organising waste management and social services will be created for local governments by eliminating the relevant supports and increasing the revenue base of local governments. The requirements set for local governments for collection of waste by type and offering social services will remain the same.

The Bill on Amendments to the Family Benefits Act and Amendments to Other Associated Acts (652 SE), initiated by the Government, will introduce into the Act amendments that will allow for a significantly more flexible use of parental benefit. The aim is to harmonise the parental leave system and to create more opportunities for reconciling work and family life in the parental benefit scheme.

The Bill will merge pregnancy and maternity leave and maternity benefit into the parental leave and benefit system. There will be a possibility to collect parental benefit on a day-by-day basis until the child attains three years of age, and a possibility for parents to be on parental leave together to the extent of two months. According to the Bill, child leave of ten working days for each child until the child attains fourteen years of age will be provided for both parents. The entitlement to adoptive parent leave and adoption benefit will also be extended.

According to the Bill, child leave of ten working days for each child will be provided for both parents. During the second reading, the committee introduced an amendment into the Bill which will enable a parent to also use child leave intended for a dead parent or the father whose data have not been entered into the population register. For child leave, a parent will be paid a benefit to the extent of 50 per cent per of the parental benefit of one calendar day, which will be calculated on the basis of 12 calendar months preceding the last three months. In the case of children born before 1 April 2019, child leave will be granted under the current system. In the case of children born after 1 April 2019, the current system will apply until the end of March 2022, and the new system will apply as of 1 April 2022. In the case of children born after 1 April 2022, child leave will be granted under the new system.

During the debate, Heljo Pikhof (Social Democratic Party), Tiina Kangro and Aivar Kokk (Isamaa) took the floor on behalf of factions.

Three more Bills passed the first reading in the Riigikogu:

The Bill on Amendments to the Alcohol, Tobacco, Fuel and Electricity Excise Duty Act and Other Acts (699 SE), initiated by the Government, is intended to establish a favourable excise duty rate for natural gas, which would be 11.30 euro per 1000 m3, for undertakings with intensive gas consumption. As another amendment, the Bill provides for cancellation of the rise of the excise duty rates for alcohol planned for 2019 and 2020. The purpose of this amendment is to reduce additional pressure on the business in border areas, and the resulting under-accrual of excise revenue.

During the debate, Aivar Sõerd (Reform Party) took the floor on behalf of his faction.

The Bill on Amendments to the Release into Environment of Genetically Modified Organisms Act and the Plant Protection Act (681 SE), initiated by the Government, provides for abandoning the establishment of the database of the locations and handlers of genetically modified (GM) crops. The possibility to enter the relevant data into the plant health register will be created instead. Also, under the Bill, in the future, to cultivate a GM crop, an agreement will have to be reached in advance with beekeepers whose bee colonies are located at least at a three kilometre distance from the field.

For handling a GM crop which includes the cultivation thereof in a field on the basis of a European Union marketing authorisation, transportation related to the cultivation (to the field before sowing, and to storage after harvest) and storage before marketing, a notice of economic activities will have to be submitted to the Agricultural Board.

In the European Union, including in Estonia, it is permitted to cultivate only one GM crop – maize MON 810. The varieties of this maize have been developed for cultivation in southern regions and therefore so far no farmer has been interested in the cultivation of the GM crop allowed in Estonia. GM crops are not cultivated in Estonia at present, and therefore there is no need to establish a new national database.

Under the current Act, if an apiary is located up to three kilometres from arable land, a person who would like to grow a GM crop must inform the apiary owner in writing of the intention to cultivate the GM crop.

The information obligation will be abandoned because contamination of honey with GMO-s is relatively likely in the case of an up to three kilometre radius from a hive. Thus information alone does not yield the necessary result, and to avoid later disputes, it is important to achieve an agreement by which the beekeeper among other things expresses his or her consent to potential contamination of honey with GMO-s and takes into account the accompanying consequences.

The Prevention of Unfair Competition and Protection of Trade Secrets Bill (678 SE), initiated by the Government.

Unfair competition is unfair competition within the meaning of Chapter 7 of the current Competition Act. The Bill will separate the regulation of unfair competition from the Competition Act where it does not fit in terms of system, correct the term of “unfair competition” so that it would be consistent with its English equivalent, and transpose into Estonian law the relevant EU directive on the protection of trade secrets.

The Bill will not amend the substance of the current regulation of unfair competition, except in regard to the directive on the protection of unfair competition. Provisions drafted on the basis thereof define trade secret and unlawful acquisition, use and disclosure thereof. The Bill will establish additional legal remedies for the protection of trade secrets, and the right to require compensation of non-patrimonial damage and loss of profit also in the case of claims arising from tort law.

In addition, the Bill will restore the penal liability for disclosure of confidential information which becomes known in legal proceedings, and extend the regulation of securing actions against a security in civil proceedings in such a manner that, upon securing an action, in justified cases, the plaintiff will have to pay security also to the extent of the potential damage to third persons, besides the defendant.

Verbatim record of the sitting (in Estonian) http://stenogrammid.riigikogu.ee/en/201810101400.

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
Marie Kukk
+372 631 6456; +372 5821 3309
marie.kukk@riigikogu.ee
Questions: press@riigikogu.ee

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