On the motion of the Economic Affairs Committee, the second reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Merchant Shipping Act and Amendments to Other Associated Acts (353 & 386 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded. The consolidated Bill amends the Merchant Shipping Act by adding the regulation concerning the insurance with regard to the contract of carriage of passengers by sea arising from the corresponding Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council (on the liability of carriers of passengers by sea in the event of accidents). According to the Regulation, the Estonian Maritime Administration will issue certificates concerning the existence of the insurance to ships. On the basis of the above, the Maritime Safety Act and the State Fees Act are also amended correspondingly. Another purpose of the consolidated Bill is to grant the right and obligation to review complaints of maritime passengers to the Consumer Protection Board. This will establish the legal basis for proceeding the complaints of maritime passengers in the case of possible infringements of the EU Regulation, and passengers will be granted the right to protect their rights more effectively and they will have the possibility to turn to the Consumer Protection Board as the competent authority. The Bill was sent to the third reading.
On the motion of the Environment Committee, the first reading of the Bill on the Ratification of the Convention for the Establishment of a European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites and the Protocol on Amendments thereto (411 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded. The purpose of the ratification of the Convention for the Establishment of a European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT) and the Protocol on amendments thereto is to ensure the continued forwarding of satellite information to Estonia which gives a continuous operational picture of what is happening in the atmosphere. Many meteorological elements measured from satellites are important for developing weather forecast models and increasing their accuracy. The EUMETSAT member state status includes the full right to vote in the EUMETSAT Council and in the staff recruitment procedure. Besides access to all EUMETSAT data and services, Estonia will get an opportunity to participate and have a say in the shaping of the methods, decisions and policy in the field of meteorology in Europe. Becoming a full member of the organisation is provided for in the cooperation agreement concluded with EUMETSAT on 19 December 2006. The Bill was sent to the second reading.
On the motion of the Environment Committee, the first reading of the Bill on the Ratification of the Protocol on the Privileges and Immunities of the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (412 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded. The purpose of this Protocol is to grant EUMETSAT the privileges and immunities necessary for the independent fulfilment of its duties. Ensuring the privileges and immunity is important in the relations with the country of location of the Headquarters, that is, the Federal Republic of Germany, as well as other States Parties because EUMETSAT and its staff may fall under the jurisdiction of a State Party. Differently from usual diplomatic privileges and immunities, it is not the interest of states to follow the principle of reciprocity, but to let EUMETSAT function independently, efficiently and without fear of intervention. The Bill was sent to the second reading.
The Riigikogu Press Service