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The Riigikogu passed four Acts: 

The Act on Amendments to the Code of Enforcement Procedure and the Bailiffs Act (309 SE), initiated by the Government, which introduces several amendments in connection with the electronic e-auction system which will be launched as of 12 January 2013 and specifies the procedure for participation in the e-auction and registration to the auction, was passed with 74 votes in favour. The simplified procedure for selling movables of low value was established. The Act eliminates the obligation to publish an announcement of an auction also in a local newspaper that caused enforcement costs, extends the term for the assignment of the rights of a purchaser, provides the conditions for the payment of the deposit and the purchase price to the bank account of the bailiff and makes several other amendments. 

The Act on Amendments to the Police and Border Guard Act (326 SE), initiated by the Pro Patria and Res Publica Union Faction and the Estonian Reform Party Faction, which aims to ensure equal treatment of persons in pension schemes, was passed with 52 votes in favour (26 against). The pensions calculated on the basis of the State Pension Insurance Act, the Old-Age Pensions under Favourable Conditions Act and the Superannuated Pensions Act are indexed with the pension index on 1 April every year. Pursuant to the Police and Border Guard Act, the pensions already granted are recalculated depending on the basis of which Act the pension has been granted. The pensions calculated on the basis of Acts which were in force earlier, such as the Police Service Act and the Border Guard Service Act, are indexed with the pension index on 1 April; the pensions calculated on the basis of the Police and Border Guard Act which entered into force on 1 January 2010 are recalculated together with the change of salary. Thus, the earlier legal regulation treated special pensioners and ordinary pensioners, and different groups of special pensioners, differently as regards the recalculation of pensions. In order to liquidate this situation, according to the Act, the special pensions granted and to be granted, except for the pensions calculated on the basis of the salary of the current year, will be indexed with the pension index as of 2013. 

The Act on Amendments to the Health Insurance Act (325 SE), initiated by the Government, which establishes the maximum rate of 5 euro, instead of the current 3.20 euro, for the fee for home visits and visits for out-patient specialised medical care, and the maximum rate of 2.50 euro, instead of the current 1.60 euro, for in-patient fees, was passed with 49 votes in favour (31 against). 

The Act on Amendments to the Waste Act (293 SE), initiated by the Government, which introduces into the Act the regulation concerning the use of certain hazardous substances (lead, mercury, cadmium, chromium VI, polybrominated biphenyls (PBB) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE)) in electrical and electronic equipment on the basis of the relevant directive of the European Parliament and of the Council, was passed with 67 votes in favour. Observance of this directive will contribute, through the restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances, to the protection of human health and the environment, and to the ensurance of the environmentally sound recovery and disposal of waste EEE. 

Prime Minister Andrus Ansip gave an overview of the situation of research and development activities and the Government’s policy in this sphere. 

The Prime Minister noted that Estonia is a competitive country with a developing economy. We have managed well in the circumstances of the insecurity rampant in the global economy. Estonia is expected to show the fastest economic growth in the eurozone. We have managed to keep and establish the stability necessary for growth with the support of conservative financial policy, regardless of the outside environment, Ansip underlined. He stated that Estonia has to be ready also for negative changes in the economic environment. Several economists have said that, in the last twenty years, insecurity in the global economy has not been greater than it has been in the recent years: the complicated options of the eurozone, the situation of the public finances of the USA and the risks determining the development of China and the whole Asia which we have to take into account. In Ansip’s opinion, the veil of insecurity is casting shadows also on the options of Estonia’s main trading partners and therefore we should not afford public finances managed light-handedly and decisions based on only short-term profit. “We have to accumulate reserves and at the same time to contribute to the fields which will help increase Estonia’s competitiveness. Research and development and innovation are indeed one of such important fields,” Ansip stressed. 

The Prime Minister noted that the report for the evaluation of the research and development and the innovation system in Estonia, prepared by European and Estonian experts, confirms the success of the implementation of the current research policy. The report states that, over the years, Estonian has managed to establish a research environment promoting public sector innovation. The report notes as a shortcoming that the impact of the current innovation policy on real economy has remained less significant than was expected. The same tendency is confirmed by the fact that Estonia holds the 23th place among European Union countries as regards the indicator of the economic impact of innovation. On the whole, we are in the high 14th place on the scoreboard. 

In the opinion of the Research and Development Council which advises the Government, in order to increase the influence of the research and development activities on the economy and society, four main objectives will have to be brought into focus in the implementation of the next research and development and innovation strategy. These objectives are the following: better integration and more specific prioritisation of research and development fields, valuing and development of human resource, linking up of science and enterprise, and taking guidance from clear principles in the development of the infrastructure. 

Ansip stressed that research and development and innovation will have to remain a development priority with consensus in Estonia, regardless of the state of the economy, the turbulent outside environment or domestic political fights. 

Mart Meri, Ene Ergma, Urmas Klaas and Mailis Reps took the floor during the debate.  

At the end of the sitting, Santa Claus visited the Riigikogu and gave a humorous overview of the work of the members of the Riigikogu during the past year. As usual, he gave gifts to the political parties represented in the Riigikogu and to independent members, and reproached and praised them. Santa Claus wished everyone good holiday spirit and a happy new year. 

The Riigikogu Press Service