The Act that was passed in the Riigikogu today aims to increase competition in the reverse auctions for generation of electricity from renewable energy sources, to reduce the use of fossil fuels in electricity generation and to improve the supply security of electricity generation in Estonia.
Under the current regulation, the reverse auctions organised for the attainment of the national renewable energy objective are open only to generating installations that have not generated electricity before the reverse auction. According to the Act on Amendments to the Electricity Market Act (156 SE), initiated by the Government, in the future, existing producers will also be allowed to participate in such reverse auctions, in order to motivate such producers to use renewable energy sources instead of fossil fuels as input for electricity generation in the future. In such a case, the winner of the reverse auction can be paid support for each reverse auction during up to two years starting from commencement of the generation of electricity from the renewable source related to the reverse auction.
A securities system is also introduced to the regulation of reverse auctions, in order to ensure more efficiently that the winners of reverse auctions implement the activities they commit to undertake.
During the debate, Jevgeni Ossinovski (Social Democratic Party), Sven Sester (Isamaa) and Kalle Grünthal (Estonian Conservative People’s Party) took the floor.
69 members of the Riigikogu were in favour of passing of the Act, nine voted against, and there was one abstention,
The Riigikogu passed another Act
The Act on Amendments to the Electronic Identification and Trust Services for Electronic Transactions Act, the Identity Documents Act and the State Fees Act (376 SE), initiated by the Government, provides for a clear division of competence and responsibility between agencies regarding electronic identification in the Electronic Identification and Trust Services for Electronic Transactions Act and the Identity Documents Act.
The Act updates the regulation concerning the assessment of the assurance level of private-law electronic identification schemes. At the same time, the State Fees Act is amended by providing for a state fee applied for reviewing an application to assess the assurance level of a private-law electronic identification scheme in the chapter concerning the acts of the Information System Authority.
In the course of the resolution of the security flaw with ID-cards that appeared in Estonia in autumn 2017, the need to organise the legal space concerning identity documents, electronic identification and trust services as well as the division of work and responsibility between the state agencies responsible for these areas rose.
The Act also amends the Identity Documents Act, among other things, incorporating the amendments to implement the Regulation (EU) 2019/1157 of the European Parliament and of the Council.
76 members of the Riigikogu were in favour of passing the Act.
A Bill passed the second reading
The Bill on Amendments to the Product Conformity Act and Amendments to Other Associated Acts (372 SE), initiated by the Government, will extend the surveillance competences of market surveillance authorities in connection with products offered for sale in e-commerce. Authorities will get access to communication data in order that they would have the opportunity to identify owners of webpages and, where necessary, to restrict access to online interfaces and to require the removal of information content or the display of a warning. The aim of the amendment is to ensure that dangerous products are removed from sale as quickly as possible.
The supervision of products from third countries will also be enhanced. For this, a new requirement for making construction products, personal protective equipment, appliances burning gaseous fuels, and toys available on the European Union market will be introduced. In the case of such products, there will have to be an interlocutor established in the European Union mandated by the manufacturer who can be addressed in the event of additional questions or problems and who is responsible for the availability and verification of declarations and, where necessary, for taking corrective action.
In cross-border cooperation, digital operation and information exchange will be introduced between European Union surveillance authorities. The competence of market surveillance authorities in respect of personal transporters used in traffic and unmanned aircraft system (UAS) intended to be operated in the ‘open’ category will be specified. According to the amendments, the Consumer Protection and Technical Regulatory Authority, and not the Transport Administration, will carry out market surveillance of such appliances. For the purpose of more effective sanctioning, the amount of the fine for legal persons will be increased from 3200 euro to 32,000 euro.
Five Bills passed the first reading
The Bill on Amendments to the Traffic Act (414 SE), initiated by the Government, will transpose into Estonian law the European Union directive that provides for making the payment of road fees within the European Union more convenient. At the same time, a regulation for cross-border information exchange for cases of failure to pay a road fee will be established.
Regardless of the fact that, in Estonia, road toll is not collected through automated identification, the directive needs to be transposed to the minimum mandatory extent, that is, in respect of the provisions concerning the right of European Electronic Toll Service (EETS) providers to register their activities in every EU Member State. Therefore, every Member State must provide, in accordance with the directive, for the requirements for the technology and equipment used, and set out the rights and obligations of both service providers and users.
The Bill on Amendments to the Energy Sector Organisation Act and Amendments to Other Associated Acts (382 SE), initiated by the Government, will transpose the European Union Renewable Energy Directive, which aims to increase the production and consumption of renewable energy both in households and at the level of large producers and consumers.
The amendments made with the transposition of the Renewable Energy Directive can be divided into three groups according to their content and scope: the national renewable energy targets and the principles for the calculation thereof together with the issues of guarantees of origin; the boosting and facilitation of the consumption of renewable-source energy generated for own use, which includes spatial plans and administrative and authorisation procedures; and the sustainability criteria for biofuels.
During the debate, Kalvi Kõva (Social Democratic Party) and Heiki Hepner (Isamaa) took the floor.
The Bill on the Approval of the Amendments to the Convention concerning International Carriage by Rail and to its Appendices (386 SE), initiated by the Government. The Convention concerning International Carriage by Rail COTIF is a uniform system of legal provisions concerning international carriage of passengers, luggage and goods by rail. The uniform rules of COTIF are applied in international rail transport, but also in road and water transport, which are related thereto.
As at 1 December 2020, OTIF includes 50 Member States in Europe, North Africa and Central Asia, as well as Jordan, and the European Union as an organisation. All EU Member States are members of the organisation, except for Cyprus and Malta, as these countries have no railways. The uniform rules on the carriage of passengers and goods (CIV and CIM) contained in the appendices to the Convention are applied on railways to the extent of more than 250,000 km.
During the debate, Kalle Grünthal (Estonian Conservative People’s Party) took the floor.
According to the Bill on Amendments to the Building Code (395 SE), initiated by the Government, the Building Code will be amended in connection with the transposition into Estonian law of the European Union directive on road infrastructure safety management. Insofar as the scope of regulation of the directive was expanded, the road safety measures provided for by the directive will have to be implemented on all primary roads as well as public-use roads constructed with EU funds, in addition to roads of the trans-European transport network (TEN-T).
On the basis of the directive, the competent authority, mostly the Transport Administration, will have to assess road safety impacts, carry out road safety audits, assess road safety on the road network, and undertake periodic checks on the safety of roads. When local governments construct roads with the involvement of EU funds in the future, the obligations of the competent authority will also have to be performed on roads constructed by them with EU funds, in addition to the current TEN-T roads.
The Bill on Amendments to the Planning Act and Amendments to Other Associated Acts (378 SE), initiated by the Government, provides for the establishment of a central database of spatial plans. The purpose of the Bill is to update the whole planning procedure and to economise on resources.
With a central database of spatial plans, it will be possible to store and disclose information on spatial plans in force, the annexes thereto, and the decisions made in the course of planning procedures.
The Bill will bring the provisions on planning proceedings into conformity with the Administrative Procedure Act according to which it is also possible to deliver documents and send notices electronically in planning proceedings. At present, the authorities arranging the preparation of spatial plans send notices and documents in planning proceedings only by registered mail.
The Bill also provides for the possibility to hold public discussions online. According to the Bill, in the future, notices to persons involved in planning proceedings can also be sent through apartment associations.
The Riigikogu received an overview of a draft development plan
Minister for Economy and Infrastructure Taavi Aas presented the draft of the Transport and Mobility Development Plan 2021–2035.
The development plan is projected for 15 years, as many changes that are taking place in the sector, such as the construction of Rail Baltic and the consideration of the construction of Tallinn-Helsinki tunnel, are long-term processes the results of which will be seen over the longer term. The main focus of the development plan is to reduce the environmental footprint of the means and system of transport in order to contribute to achieving the climate goals by both 2030 and 2050.
According to the development plan, with a view to improving mobility, the state wishes to make using public transport more convenient, quicker and more accessible to people by organising and planning it better, and making more use of the opportunities of digitalisation. It is also planned to pay more attention to movement by bicycle and on foot.
The development plan is in conformity with the national development strategy “Estonia 2035”.
During the debate, Kersti Sarapuu (Centre Party), Sven Sester (Isamaa), Raimond Kaljulaid, Heiki Hepner (Isamaa), Jüri Jaanson (Reform Party), Heljo Pikhof (Social Democratic Party) and Henn Põlluaas (Estonian Conservative People’s Party) took the floor.
Two Bills were rejected at the first reading
The Bill on Amendments to the Citizenship Act (388 SE), initiated by the Faction Isamaa, was intended to preclude the grant and restoration of Estonian citizenship to persons who have been repeatedly punished under criminal law for intentional crimes.
During the debate, Helir-Valdor Seeder (Isamaa) took the floor.
The lead committee moved to reject the Bill at the first reading; 43 members of the Riigikogu were in favour of the motion and 23 voted against.
The Bill on Amendments to the Tobacco Act (412 SE), initiated by members of the Riigikogu Tarmo Kruusimäe, Raivo Tamm, Üllar Saaremäe, Madis Milling, Kert Kingo, Kalle Grünthal, Andres Metsoja and Paul Puustusmaa, was intended to set out a regulation for tobacco-free snus, which has so far not been regulated in detail, in order to thereby ensure the safety of the product. It was also intended to correct the provisions that, contrary to the objective set, have brought about an increase in smuggling and health risks.
During the debate, Tarmo Kruusimäe (Isamaa) and Kalle Grünthal (Estonian Conservative People’s Party) took the floor.
The lead committee moved to reject the Bill at the first reading; 33 members of the Riigikogu were in favour of the motion and 18 voted against.
The sitting ended at 8.06 p.m.
Verbatim record of the sitting (in Estonian)
The video recording of the sitting will be available on the Riigikogu YouTube channel.
(Please note that the recording will be uploaded with a delay.)
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