At today’s sitting of the Riigikogu, the Bill which aims to increase the availability of information relating to food safety passed the first reading. The Bill provides a list and thus defines more clearly what information can be classified as confidential business information.
The Bill on Amendments to the Release into Environment of Genetically Modified Organisms Act (744 SE), initiated by the Government, will bring the Act into conformity with the relevant European Union regulation that aims to ensure increased transparency and to provide citizens and scientists access to all information concerning food safety that the business operator has submitted during the risk assessment process, except for information that can be classified as confidential business information.
With a view to improving transparency, all European Union regulations and directives on food, feed and genetically modified organisms have been reviewed and the data that can be classified as confidential business information has been harmonised in the regulation. Earlier, data that may be or must not be confidential business information were listed in various laws and regulations. In the future, only data that can be classified as confidential business information will be listed in all laws and regulations relating to food and genetically modified organisms (GMO). The same amendments will also need to be made in our legislation.
The current Act lists the information that must not be classified as confidential business information. The Bill establishes a list of data that can be classified as confidential business information. So the amount of information that can be classified as confidential business information will become much more limited and defined. This will increase transparency because all information that is not considered confidential business information will be available to the public. The Act will also be amended by adding the requirement that, where international standard data formats exist, data will have to be submitted| in accordance with such data formats in an application. This will simplify the comparison of various data and thus the assessment of applications will take less time. The need to inquire additional information from applicants will also decrease.
The Riigikogu did not pass a Resolution
The Draft Resolution of the Riigikogu “Making a proposal to the Government of the Republic to develop an action plan to support living in rural areas” (682 OE), submitted by the Estonian Centre Party Faction, was intended to make a proposal to the Government to develop an action plan to support Estonian residents in living in rural areas. The draft Resolution proposed to develop additional measures to support the acquisition and reconstruction of housing in the Estonian rural areas, to allocate funds from the state budget to continue the rental building programme, and to supplement the sparsely populated areas programme with national support in order to improve remote working opportunities and to establish a fast Internet connection.
During the debate, Erki Savisaar took the floor on behalf of the Centre Party Faction, Andres Metsoja on behalf of Faction Isamaa and Peeter Ernits on behalf of the Estonian Conservative People’s Party Faction.
34 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of passing the Resolution. A majority vote of the members of the Riigikogu was needed for the draft Resolution to be passed. Thus, the draft Resolution was not supported.
The first reading of a Bill was adjourned
Due to the end of the working hours of the sitting, the first reading of the Bill on Amendments to the General Part of the Environmental Code Act and Other Acts (734 SE), initiated by the Government, was adjourned and will continue at tomorrow’s sitting.
The Bill will organise the system of environmental protection permits regulating the use of the environment in order to ensure that the Environmental Board can economise its resources, to support the implementation of the long-term strategies related to the green transition and to ensure a service with low administrative burden and bureaucracy. The Bill will enable the Environmental Board to better manage its resources, enhance the effectiveness of the work of the Environmental Board and optimise the environmental decision-making processes. The Bill will amend the obligation to hold an environmental permit in the case of certain activities, mitigating the disproportionately burdensome requirements and taking into account the potential environmental impact of the activities. The processing of permits will become more efficient and faster in order that applicants could receive feedback within a reasonable period of time which helps reduce administrative burden.
The Bill will also prescribe the possibility of carrying out proceedings on an environmental permit faster in order to prevent the risk of disruption of a vital service. It provides that, in the case of vital services, in the future, the provisions concerning open proceedings will not be applied to the processing of environmental permits. The explanatory memorandum says that, due to instabilities in the energy market, the need to amend the processing of environmental permits in order to prevent the risk of disruption of vital services has already become apparent. Many power and heat producers will need to adopt alternative fuels available on the market to prevent risks.
At today’s sitting, Kalle Grünthal took the floor on behalf of the Estonian Conservative People’s Party Faction and Andres Metsoja took the floor on behalf of Faction Isamaa during the debate. The debate will continue at tomorrow’s sitting.
The first reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Earth’s Crust Act and Amendments to Other Associated Acts (745 SE), initiated by the Government, the Bill on Amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety Act and the Health Insurance Act (725 SE), initiated by the Estonian Centre Party Faction, and the Bill on Amendments to the Medicinal Products Act (683 SE), initiated by the Estonian Conservative People’s Party Faction, was also deferred to the agenda for tomorrow’s sitting due to the end of the working hours of the sitting.
Verbatim record of the sitting (in Estonian)
The video recording of the sitting will be available to watch later on the Riigikogu YouTube channel.
(Please note that the recording will be uploaded with a delay.)
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