The Riigikogu passed two Acts:
The Act on Ratification of Agreement between Government of the Republic of Estonia and Government of the Republic of Azerbaijan for Avoidance of Double Taxation and Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with respect to Taxes on Income and on Capital, and Protocol thereto (291 SE), initiated by the Government, was passed with 65 votes in favour. The purpose of agreements for the avoidance of double taxation is to favour investments, to ensure equal treatment of persons and to eliminate double taxation, which may occur as a result of joint influence of the Acts of two states. For the achievement of these purposes, the Agreement imposes restrictions on income and property taxes, which may be established to the residents of the other state by the state of the source of income. The Agreement also contributes to the creation of additional possibilities for the prevention of tax evasions. Estonia has already concluded the agreements for the avoidance of double taxation with Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Iceland, Czech Republic, Canada, Ukraine, Germany, Belarus, Netherlands, Italy, France, Ireland, United States of America, Moldova, China, Kazakhstan, Belgium, Austria, Armenia, Malta, Croatia, Switzerland, Hungary, Portugal, Turkey, Spain, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Luxembourg, Georgia and Singapore.
The Act on Approval of Articles of Agreement of International Development Association (290 SE), initiated by the Government, which approves the Articles of Agreement of the International Development Association (IDA), was passed with 54 votes in favour. After accession to the IDA, Estonia will be able to participate as a full-fledged partner in the cooperation of IDA member states and in decision-making process, and to support the development of less-developed countries through the IDA. The IDA helps support the development of the globally poorest region of Africa and other poor countries which do not enjoy the benefit of the bilateral development assistance of Estonia.
The Riigikogu concluded the first reading of eight Bills:
The Draft Resolution of the Riigikogu “Approval of “Oil Shale Use National Development Plan 2008-2015”” (300 OE), submitted by the Government. The development plan for the first time covers the whole process of the use and mining of oil shale, taking account of economic, social, security-related as well as environmental protection aspects. The development plan provides the opportunity and guidelines for targeting at the state level a strategic energy resource important for Estonia, for which necessary provisions were lacking in legislation. The Estonian Green Party moved to reject the Bill at the first reading. The result of voting: 30 votes in favour, 51 against. The motion was not supported.
According to the initiator, the purpose of the Bill on Amendments to the Waste Act and the Penal Code (305 SE), initiated by the Estonian Green Party Faction, is to minimise intentional littering of nature. According to the Bill, depositing of waste outside of waste management facilities in an amount exceeding 50 litres is punishable by a pecuniary punishment or up to one year of imprisonment.
The purpose of the Bill on Amendments to the Funded Pensions Act and Associated Acts (313 SE), initiated by the Government, is to eliminate the bottlenecks hindering the development of the second pillar which have appeared in the contribution phase of the funded pension system, and to improve the regulation of the payment phase of the mandatory funded pension system. More specific objectives of the Bill with regard to the contribution phase are to enhance the transparency of the structure of the fees relating to the pension fund and the flexibility of the rules for the exchange of units and the limitations on investment in pension funds. This creates the possibilities for unit-holders to react more effectively to changes in pension fund rules or investment results.
The Bill on Approval of Amendment of Convention establishing Customs Cooperation Council (288 SE), initiated by the Government. Accession of the European Community to the WCO will enable the European Community to represent the interests of member states in this organisation in the areas where the European Community member states have given up their competence to the European Community. Estonia will not give up its competence with the approval of the amendment of the Convention, because competence has already been divided between the Community and member states since accession to the EU.
The Bill on Amendments to the Border Guard Service Act (269 SE), initiated by the Government, is intended for resolving the personnel problems of the Border Guard as soon as possible. The main focus is on improving the flexibility of the education requirements for border guards. The Bill allows persons who have secondary education and who do not have vocational secondary education in border guarding or qualifications equal thereto to be appointed to the position of border guard. The Bill also creates the basis for counting the military rank of persons who had not completed training in border guarding as a border guard rank after completion of training in border guarding, in order to enable persons who have a military rank to enter service in the border guard.
The Bill on Amendments to the Defence Forces Service Act, the Health Insurance Act and the Social Tax Act (289 SE), initiated by the Government, amends the regulation of alternative service by adding necessary provisions, updates the existing provisions and eliminates the problems which have emerged. The amendments extend the range of potential places of service and equalise the amount of and procedure for the allowance paid to persons in alternative service. The making of the decisions related to call-up for and serving in alternative service is defined in more detail and centralised to the competence of the Defence Resources Agency. Institution of the contract of alternative service will secure the rights and obligations of the Defence Resources Agency, persons in alternative service and agencies of place of service.
The Draft Resolution of the Riigikogu “Repeal of Riigikogu Resolution of 4 December 2007 “Approval of National Waste Management Plan”” (314 OE), submitted by the Government. The Ministry of the Environment has prepared the draft of the “National Waste Management Plan 2008–2013” which was approved by Government of the Republic Order No 234 of 29 May 2008 “Approval of “National Waste Management Plan 2008–2013””. This necessitates repealing of the national waste management plan approved by a Resolution of the Riigikogu in 2002, because two similar development plans with different contents cannot be in force at the same time.
The purpose of the Bill on Amendments to the Forest Act and Associated Acts (327 SE), initiated by the Government, is to maximise the efficacy of the Forest Act and to take more account of the co-influence of the interests of all interest groups, and to bring it into conformity with the actual situation in order to ensure better compatibility of forestry-related activities with the general objectives of forest policy and to avoid possible ambiguous interpretations. The Bill ensures preservation of the primeval state forest land for the state and the planning of long-term processes in forestry in consideration of the interest groups concerned.
The Estonian Green Party as the initiator withdrew from the legislative proceeding the Bill on Amendments to the Planning Act (278 SE).
At Question Time, the Minister of Defence Jaak Aaviksoo answered the question about security clearance, submitted by Lauri Laasi. The Minister of the Environment Jaanus Tamkivi answered the question about nature conservation, submitted by Karel Rüütli, the question about alien species, submitted by Aleksei Lotman, and the question about state participation in the investments of Cohesion Fund projects, submitted by Inara Luigas. Minister Urve Palo answered the question about integration, submitted by Vladimir Velman.
The Riigikogu Press Service
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