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The plan for oil shale use until 2030 passed the first reading in the Riigikogu. It is based on efficient and sustainable use of oil shale and the ensuring of sustainable development of the oil shale sector.

The Draft Resolution of the Riigikogu “Approval of the National Development Plan for Oil Shale Use for 2016–2030” (166 OE), submitted by the Government, provides that, in the oil shale electricity production, according to EU long-term climate and energy policy objectives, the proportion of direct oil shale burning technology in electricity production will have to be reduced and shale oil production will have to be developed. With the expected growth in oil production volume, production of electricity from retort gas will also increase.

The need to draw up the oil shale development plan arises from the Earth’s Crust Act and the Sustainable Development Act. In “The National Development Plan for Oil Shale Use for 2008–2015”, the next stage of the implementation of the development plan is planned for 2016–2030. The aim of the oil shale sector is the implementation of a national interest of efficient and sustainable use of oil shale as a national richness and the ensuring of sustainable development of the oil shale sector.

The annual rate for the extraction of oil shale is planned to amount to 20 million tonnes until the year 2020 in the oil shale development plan. The results of the impact indicators or indicators of the development plan are analysed after five year periods in order to acknowledge changes in technologies, the market situation, environmental requirements and the environmental impact that has occurred, and in view of the fact that, as a result of the updating of the technology used in the oil shale industry, or due to other circumstances, the negative environmental impact caused by oil shale extraction and production is diminishing gradually. It is possible to increase the permitted annual extraction rate only in the case when the need is based on the real market situation and no conflict with environmental requirements arises.

Artur Talvik and Valeri Korb took the floor on behalf of factions during the debate.

Artur Talvik who took the floor on behalf of the Free Party Faction said that the proposed development plan was controversial and did not offer necessary solutions for the development of the oil shale industry. “We are calmly speaking of such ‘fine-tuning’ as to whether to extract 20 million tonnes or 15 million tonnes. We all know that, for objective reasons, the industry is in fact incapable of extracting more than 15 million tonnes, that is not the question at all today,” he noted. “The question is what our grand plan is, what our energy economy plan is, what our mineral resources plan is. Rather, we should turn our efforts jointly to planning the future. In any case, this development plan gives no an answer to that.”

Valeri Korb who took the floor on behalf of the Centre Party Faction stressed that Estonia should put more serious effort into finding new possibilities to use oil shale. “The most fundamental question is whether we will get enough funds so that our scientists and our science could provide insight as to where we should advance in these 15 years,” he said. “I think that the programme that we are discussing today would then achieve a broader platform and would get underway. Then everybody would have a clear picture of what we wish to get from oil shale, and where we are going to until 2030.”

The Riigikogu concluded the second reading of one Bill:

The Bill on Amendments to the Tobacco Act (118 SE), initiated by the Government, will harmonise the requirements for the packaging and labelling of tobacco products and tobacco-related products in EU Member States. The requirements for the packaging and labelling of tobacco products will be tightened. Sales packages of cigarettes and smoking tobacco will have to be labelled with new picture and text warnings as of 20 May 2016. A package must have the reference www.tubakainfo.ee, where help for quitting smoking can be found. Under the Bill, smoking areas without walls in buildings will be prohibited as of 2017.

The Bill was at the second reading also at the Riigikogu sitting on 27 January, but the second reading was suspended then. By the deadline for submission of motions to amend, 3 February, Vilja Toomast submitted motions to amend, and the Social Affairs Committee supported them. With the motions to amend, a definition of characterising flavours of cigarettes and roll-your-own smoking tobacco, and the wording of prohibitions, were provided for in the wording set out in the directive. Also, the word “smoking tobacco” was replaced with the concept of “roll-your-own smoking tobacco”.

The Riigikogu concluded the first reading of two other Bills:

The Preservation Copy Bill (157 SE), initiated by the Government, will replace the current Legal Deposit Act. The number of printed publications submitted for preservation will be reduced from eight to four, and the number of libraries who receive a preservation copy will also be reduced. The obligation of the state to preserve printed publications for a long term in ten libraries will be reduced to four libraries.

Under the Bill, all preservation copies on a physical medium (except for source material of films) will be collected through a single centre, the National Library of Estonia. The National Library will compile the statistics on web publications, in addition to the statistics on the printed production. The National Archives will be charged with the task of collecting the source material of films with a view to ensuring the preservation of film heritage.

Mark Soosaar and Krista Aru took the floor on behalf of factions during the debate.

Mark Soosaar who took the floor on behalf of the Social Democratic Party Faction noted that the Social Democrats and he himself were glad about the Bill. “In any case, our faction approves the concluding of the first reading of this Bill. Let us pursue this Bill boldly to the third reading and try to go to the victorious end with the digitisation and archiving of the Estonian national memory,” he said.

Krista Aru who took the floor on behalf of the Free Party Faction said that the new Bill is reasonable and necessary. “Because the time, conditions and circumstances around us have changed fundamentally. Some cosmetic amendments to the current Legal Deposit Act would not give us the guarantee and security we need in the preservation of our cultural heritage in order to preserve it also digitally, in digital form,” she added.

The Bill on Amendments to the Copyright Act (163 SE), initiated by the Government, will transpose the relevant EU directive the deadline for which is 10 April 2016. The aim of the directive is to harmonise the fundamental principles of the activities of the organisations related to collective management at European Union level, to establish a mechanism for cross-EU licensing of the use of musical works, and to establish the obligation of supervision of the activities of collective management organisations.

There are four major collective management organisations in Estonia: the Estonian Authors’ Society, the Estonian Performers’ Association, the Estonian Association of Phonogram Producers and the Estonian Audiovisual Authors’ Union. The regulation concerning the activities of Estonian management organisations will become considerably more detailed as a result of the directive. In addition, a mechanism will be established for the exercise of state supervision over the activities of collective management organisations, and the Ministry of Justice will be the supervisory authority. All interested persons will have the possibility to notify when they think that requirements arising from the Copyright Act and concerning the activities of associations have been violated.

Verbatim record of the sitting (in Estonian): http://stenogrammid.riigikogu.ee/et/201602101400#PKP-18237

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

Urmas Seaver

T: 631 6352; 50 39 907

[email protected]

Questions: [email protected]