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At today’s Riigikogu sitting, the Bill which aims to cancel the reduction of the social tax rate on 1 January in 2017 and 2018 passed the first reading.

The chairman of the faction Kadri Simson who presented the Bill on Amendments to the Social Tax Act, the Income Tax Act and Other Acts (288 SE), initiated by the Centre Party Faction, said that the aim of the Bill was to maintain the current situation in which the social tax rate is 33 per cent.

Simson pointed out that the lowering of the social tax rate by 0.5 per cent as of 1 January 2017, and by additional 0.5 per cent as of 1 January 2018 would have reduced the receipt of social tax by 33.8 million euro in 2017 (according to last year’s data), by 86 million euro in 2018, and by 91 million euro in 2019.

Andres Ammas, who took the floor on behalf of the Free Party Faction in the debate, pointed out that the Free Party Faction supported the continuation of proceedings on this Bill. He said that undertakings would be much more glad about the half-percent lowering of the social tax if a ceiling was established for the social tax, or if the current social tax minimum was eliminated, or if this minimum was at least significantly reduced.

The Chairman of the Finance Committee Remo Holsmer gave an overview of the deliberation of the Bill in the committee, and moved to reject the Bill at the first reading. With 25 votes in favour and 67 against, the motion was not supported. The deadline for motions to amend the Bill is 1 December.

The Riigikogu passed with 87 votes in favour the Act on the Ratification of the Agreement on the Participation of the Republic of Croatia in the European Economic Area (284 SE), initiated by the Government. The Agreement establishes the conditions for accession to the European Economic Area.

The European Economic Area (EEA) unites the EU Member States and the European Free Trade Area (EFTA) States into an Internal Market governed by the same basic rules. These rules aim to enable goods, services, capital, and persons to move freely about the EEA in an open and competitive environment.

Today, the EFTA includes Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland. However, Switzerland is not party to the EEA as a result of the negative outcome of the referendum, and the relations between Switzerland and the EU are regulated by bilateral agreements. On the basis of the EEA Agreement, EFTA states can participate in the EU internal market whilst retaining independence from the European Union Common Agricultural Policy and Common Fisheries Policy.

According to the EEA Agreement, all European Union law in the fields covered by the EEA Agreement applies to Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. At present, 27 EU Member States and Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein are parties to the EEA Agreement. Croatia became the 28th Member State of the European Union on 1 July 2013. The need to conclude the EEA Enlargement Agreement arose from the Treaty of Accession of Croatia to the European Union which was signed on 9 December 2012, and Article 128 of the EEA Agreement according to which any European State becoming a member of the European Union must apply to become a party to the Agreement.

Estonia ratified the EEA Enlargement Agreement because it amends the EEA Agreement that was also ratified in the Riigikogu together with the Enlargement Agreement on Estonia’s accession to the EEA.

The Bill on Amendments to the Obligation to Leave and Prohibition on Entry Act (262 SE), initiated by the Foreign Affairs Committee, passed the second reading in the Riigikogu. Its aim is to amend and specify the legal bases for imposing a prohibition on entry on aliens.

Member of the Constitutional Committee Andres Anvelt introduced the content of the motions to amend the Bill that had been submitted. The first motion to amend provides that, in addition to racial, religious or political hatred, the basis of national hatred will be included in the Bill as a basis for a prohibition on entry.

Another amendment will add the risk assessment of a security authority upon application of a prohibition on entry. The basis for application of a prohibition on entry was further amended so that a prohibition could be applied with regard to a person who endangers not only the security of Estonia, but also the security of another European Union Member State or NATO member state, or public order or the health of other persons. Also, an amendment was submitted stating that the Ministry of the Interior will always involve the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in cases when this is relevant.

An amendment was also added stating that reasons for application of a prohibition on entry will be given to the extent which is not in conflict with national security interests, and it was decided to repeal the provision stating that no reasons are given for application of a prohibition on entry.

Verbatim record of the sitting (in Estonian): http://stenogrammid.riigikogu.ee/et/201611171000

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
Epp-Mare Kukemelk
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Questions: press@riigikogu.ee