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In the overview of her activities, the Chancellor of Justice Ülle Madise discussed the availability of free high-quality education, Internet freedom and the protection of fundamental rights on the Internet, the situation in enclosed institutions, the control of the financing of political parties, the organisation of the legislative process and the courage of civil society to have a say in social matters.

Madise noted that the current organisation of the basic education may not prove sustainable in a situation where the prestige and salary level of teachers and the equipment of schools need constant improvement. “Under the Constitution, every child has to receive proper free basic education appropriate to his or her abilities and needs, regardless of his or her place of residence, parental care, wealth or mother tongue,” Madise stressed. She admitted that solutions are not simple but one possibility is to review the school network and the financing thereof boldly and with sufficient advance notice.

When speaking of Internet freedom, Madise said that the protection of intellectual property needs a totally new approach in the whole world. “Extension of the blank cassette fee may not be the best way in this regard,” she said. “It is obvious that a forceful dragging of the analogue technology solutions into modern times does more harm than good.”

The Chancellor of Justice also touched upon the issue of the state collecting communication data and other data that move on the Internet. She said that the possibilities of the state to collect such information need not be restricted because the state must be able to detect and combat crime. The focus should be on control mechanisms and how to preclude the misuse of such data, or should it happen, to detect it quickly.

When speaking of the situation in enclosed institutions, Madise said that all persons must be regarded with dignity. “Even when they cannot or do not want to be dignified. This is the core of the Estonian society and of the fundamental agreement thereof, the Constitution. In the eyes of the state, one human life must not be more worthy of living than any other,” Madise said. She noted that the shortage and undermotivation of the staff is a serious problem in these institutions.

In her report, Madise touched upon the legislative process. She referred to the guidelines that the Riigikogu had given to the Government in 2011 according to which all Bills must be discussed carefully and sincerely with those who have the expertise and whom the Act will concern. An impact assessment of the Act must be carried out and submitted to the Riigikogu. “It seems that this decision is mostly complied with in the case of less important legislative amendments when there is time. In the case of truly important Acts that change the society, time is usually limited and then the Government does not comply with this decision of the Riigikogu,” was the criticism of the Chancellor of Justice.

In her report, the Chancellor of Justice also referred to the numerous Codes that are actually not intended to change the life of society but only words and definitions. “After all, law is a means and not an end,” Madise said.

Priit Toobal, Heljo Pikhof, Kalle Laanet and Andres Herkel took the floor during the debate.

The Riigikogu concluded the first reading of the Resolution of the Riigikogu “Amendment of the Resolution of the Riigikogu “Formation of the State Budget Control Select Committee”” (87 OE), submitted by the Pro Patria and Res Publica Union Faction. The amendment of the Resolution of the Riigikogu is connected with the termination of the mandate of member of the Riigikogu Jaak Aaviksoo. The Pro Patria and Res Publica Union Faction proposes to appoint Andres Metsoja a principal member of the State Budget Control Select Committee and Viktoria Ladõnskaja his substitute.

The Bill on Amendments to the Police and Border Guard Act (48 SE), initiated by Arno Sild, Henn Põlluaas, Mart Helme, Martin Helme, Raivo Põldaru and Uno Kaskpeit, was not supported by the Riigikogu. Under this Bill, police officers would have the right to a superannuated pension also in the case when the police officer has left the police service before attaining pensionable age but he or she has got the necessary length of police service. With 48 votes in favour, 28 against and two abstentions, the Bill was dropped from the proceedings. Uno Kaskpeit took the floor during the debate.

The deliberation of the Bill on Amendments to the Constitution of the Republic of Estonia for Changing the Procedure for the Election of the President of the Republic(18 SE), initiated by members of the Centre Party Faction, which provides for direct elections of the President of the Republic, was adjourned due to the end of the working hours of the plenary sitting.

Verbatim record of the sitting (in Estonian).

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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