At today’s plenary sitting, the Bill intended to reduce the excise duty rates for beer, cider and strong alcoholic beverages by 25 per cent in order to curb the business in border areas passed the second reading.
The explanatory memorandum to the Bill on Amendments to the Alcohol, Tobacco, Fuel and Electricity Excise Duty Act (30 SE), initiated by the Estonian Centre Party Faction, the Estonian Conservative People’s Party Faction and the Faction Isamaa, notes that, with the reduction of alcohol excise, undertakings will be given the possibility of reducing alcohol price in order to take control of the business in the areas of Estonian-Latvian border which intensified in 2015. When alcohol becomes cheaper, the quantities of alcohol procured in Latvia may decrease and the quantities of alcohol bought in Estonia may grow, the explanatory memorandum to the Bill states.
During the second reading, the Finance Committee made an amendment which aimed to prevent the carriage of excise goods from Estonia to another Member State and back to Estonia from there only for the purpose of applying for a refund of excise duty. Therefore, the excise duty rate originally applied will be applied to goods that have already been released for consumption in Estonia.
No legislative intent for the Bill has been drawn up because it is an urgent issue of state budget revenue. The action programme for 2019–2023 approved by the Government on 23 May 2019 provides for a reduction in excise duty rates with a view to bringing tax revenues into Estonia.
During the debate, Taavi Rõivas (Reform Party), Aivar Sõerd (Reform Party), Jürgen Ligi (Reform Party), Jüri Jaanson (Reform Party), Helmen Kütt (Social Democratic Party), Signe Riisalo (Reform Party), Andres Sutt (Reform Party) and Tarmo Kruusimäe (Isamaa) took the floor.
The Riigikogu supported the proposal of the Chancellor of Justice
The Chancellor of Justice Ülle Madise made a proposal to the Riigikogu to bring the Code of Misdemeanour Procedure into conformity with the Constitution. The Chancellor of Justice explained that, at the moment, there is no regulation in the Code of Misdemeanour Procedure that would allow a person who suffers damage due to a misdemeanour to examine the information that is collected in the misdemeanour procedure and that is needed to protect his or her rights A person who suffers damage in a misdemeanour can apply for compensation by court proceedings under civil procedure, and for that, evidence concerning the causing of damage and the extent of the damage must be submitted.
The Chancellor of Justice pointed out that the Code of Misdemeanour Procedure was in conflict with subsection 13 (1), § 14, subsection 15 (1), § 25 and subsection 44 (3) of the Constitution in their conjunction. According to the Constitution, everyone is entitled to protection from the state and the law, has the right of recourse to the courts to protect his or her rights, and is entitled to request compensation for intangible as well as tangible harm that he or she has suffered because of unlawful actions. Any citizen of Estonia is also entitled to access information about himself or herself held by government agencies and local authorities.
80 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of the proposal of the Chancellor of Justice. Under § 152 of the Riigikogu Rules of Procedure and Internal Rules Act, the chair of the sitting instructed the Legal Affairs Committee to introduce a Bill to bring the Code of Misdemeanour Procedure into conformity with the Constitution.
The Riigikogu passed a Resolution
Under the Resolution of the Riigikogu “Appointment of Members of the Supervisory Board of the Guarantee Fund” (32 OE), submitted by the Finance Committee, Dmitri Dmitrijev and Aivar Sõerd were appointed as members of the Supervisory Board. The objective of the Guarantee Fund is to guarantee protection of funds deposited by clients of credit institutions, clients of investment institutions and unit-holders of mandatory pension funds, and to thereby increase the reliability and stability of the financial sector. The highest directing body of the Guarantee Fund is the supervisory board. Of the nine members of the board, two are appointed by the Riigikogu on the proposal of the Finance Committee.
71 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of the Resolution.
At today’s sitting, member of the Riigikogu Siim Kiisler and justices of the Supreme Court Kaupo Paal and Kai Kullerkupp took their oaths of office.
Video recordings of the sittings of the Riigikogu can be viewed at: https://www.youtube.com/riigikogu
(The recording will be uploaded with a delay).
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