Riigikogu
Skip navigation

Riigikogu

At today’s sitting, the Riigikogu passed the Resolution that appoints Ülle Madise to the office of Chancellor of Justice for a second term.

The Riigikogu appointed Ülle Madise Chancellor of Justice on 20 January 2015 and Madise assumed office by taking the oath of office before the Riigikogu on 31 March 2015. Thus, her mandate expires on 30 March 2022.

On 16 November, President of the Republic made a proposal to re-appoint Ülle Madise Chancellor of Justice. The President notes in his cover letter that Ülle Madise who for the last seven years has filled the position of Chancellor of Justice with dignity is a lawyer with a strong academic background and long-time public administration experience. She has earlier work experience in legislative drafting from the Ministry of Justice and the Constitutional Committee of the Riigikogu. She has also worked as Director of Audit at the National Audit Office and Legal Adviser to the President of the Republic. She has been engaged with issues of constitutional review and the protection of fundamental rights and she has consistently drawn attention to the need to assess the proportionality of the restriction of rights. She has striven to ensure that the exercise of state powers were in conformity with the Constitution even at time of crisis.

Ülle Madise has shown herself as a person who gives meaning to Estonian public law and is able to reform it. She has participated in the drafting of all annotated editions of the Constitution of the Republic of Estonia, and has been editor-in-chief of the latest editions. Madise has been Member of the Board of the European Region of the International Ombudsman Institute (IOI), and is currently member of the IOI World Board.

“Considering Ülle Madise’s professional experience, knowledge and personal characteristics, I find that she is a suitable candidate for the office of Chancellor of Justice,” the President wrote.

Anti Poolamets (Estonian Conservative People’s Party) took the floor during the debate.

63 members of the Riigikogu voted for the Resolution of the Riigikogu “Appointment of Ülle Madise to the Office of Chancellor of Justice” (488 OE), submitted by the President of the Republic, 18 voted against and there was one abstention.

The Riigikogu passed eight Acts

The Bill on Amendments to the Code of Criminal Procedure (392 SE), initiated by the Legal Affairs Committee, aims to increase independence and transparency in making enquiries for the communications data collected within the framework of criminal proceedings. Under the Bill, in the future, courts, at the request of prosecutors, will grant permissions for enquiries for the communications data collected within the framework of criminal proceedings.

The Committee had been motivated to initiate the Bill in view of the judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union of 2 March which had found that the prosecutor’s office could not be considered an independent body to grant permissions for communications data enquiries insofar as the prosecutor’s office directed the criminal pre-trial procedure and brought the public prosecution in subsequent proceedings.

According to the Bill, investigative bodies may, at the request of the prosecutor’s office and with the permission of a court, make enquiries concerning communications data as a general rule in the case of a criminal offence specified in subsection 1262 (2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure and if this is unavoidably necessary for achievement of the purpose of the criminal proceedings. The abovementioned subsection lists the necessary elements of criminal offences covered by the Penal Code that the legislature has considered so grave as to allow surveillance activities that infringe the fundamental rights most to be carried out upon the conduct of proceedings thereon. Thus, it is justifiable to allow communications data enquiries as well in the case of the same criminal offences.

At the same time, the provision retains flexibility because it will also be possible to make communications data enquiries when the criminal offence is not on the list but the gravity thereof or the circumstances relating to the commission thereof justify the use of communications data. In such a case, communications data enquiries will be permitted if, in addition to the fact that the enquiry is unavoidably necessary for achievement of the purpose of the criminal proceedings, the making of the enquiry is justified by the gravity and nature of the criminal offence and the enquiry does not unjustifiably infringe personality rights.

According to the Bill, the body conducting the proceedings may make communications data enquiries under the permission of the prosecutor’s office in the case when it is impossible to formalise the permission of a court on time. In such a case, the prosecutor’s office will have submit to the court, during the first following working day, a reasoned application to declare the enquiry permissible.

During the debate, Marek Jürgenson (Centre Party) took the floor.

56 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of passing the Act and 1 voted against.

The Bill on the Ratification of the Agreement Amending the Treaty Establishing the European Stability Mechanism (479 SE), initiated by the Government.

The Agreement Amending the Treaty Establishing the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) was signed on 27 January and 8 February 2021. The agreement is intergovernmental and it is amended by an intergovernmental agreement where all member states of the euro area are parties.

The agreement that amends the Treaty Establishing the European Stability Mechanism, which entered into force in April 2012, will provide the legal basis for the reform of the ESM, agreed upon by the euro area heads of government and heads of state at an inclusive format summit in December 2018. The Agreement is a part of a wider package of measures endorsed at that summit to strengthen the European Economic and Monetary Union and to work on building a banking union.

The essence of the reform is the broadening of the mandate of the ESM. In addition to supporting member states that have temporarily lost access to market funding, the ESM will also have a stabilising role in the banking union that is being created in the European Union from 2012. The ESM will become a backstop provider to the banking union’s Single Resolution Fund, with the task of supporting the functioning of the Single Resolution Mechanism. Besides that, the reform will update the ESM’s support instruments and extend the role of ESM in crisis resolution. The reform will not change the scope of the ESM.

During the debate, Aivar Sõerd (Reform Party) and Kalle Grünthal (Estonian Conservative People’s Party) took the floor.

58 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of passing the Act and 18 voted against.

The Bill on Amendments to the Act on the Ratification and Implementation of the Treaty Establishing the European Stability Mechanism (480 SE), initiated by the Government.

The Agreement Amending the Treaty Establishing the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) was signed on 27 January and 8 February 2021. The agreement is intergovernmental and it is amended by an intergovernmental agreement where all member states of the euro area are parties.

The agreement that amends the Treaty Establishing the European Stability Mechanism, which entered into force in April 2012, will provide the legal basis for the reform of the ESM, agreed upon by the euro area heads of government and heads of state at an inclusive format summit in December 2018. The Agreement is a part of a wider package of measures endorsed at that summit to strengthen the European Economic and Monetary Union and to work on building a banking union.

The essence of the reform is the broadening of the mandate of the ESM. In addition to supporting member states that have temporarily lost access to market funding, the ESM will also have a stabilising role in the banking union that is being created in the European Union from 2012. The ESM will become a backstop provider to the banking union’s Single Resolution Fund, with the task of supporting the functioning of the Single Resolution Mechanism. Besides that, the reform will update the ESM’s support instruments and extend the role of ESM in crisis resolution. The reform will not change the scope of the ESM.

The national procedures relating to the implementation of the ESM are provided in the Act on the Ratification and Implementation of the Treaty Establishing the ESM. As the Agreement Amending the Treaty Establishing the European Stability Mechanism will make changes to the existing ESM instruments and the task of providing a backstop will be added, this Bill will provide for amendments to the procedures of the Government of the Republic and the Riigikogu relating to ESM issues, arising from the amendments to the Treaty.

57 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of passing the Act and 18 voted against.

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 amendments to the Bill omit the stage of making proposals regarding the intention to develop the bases for the pre-selection of the location of a national designated spatial plan and for the strategic environmental impact analysis. The omission of this stage will not reduce the opportunities of persons or authorities to be involved in the preparation of a plan or giving their opinion on it, as these opportunities are ensured through the public display and discussion stage preceding the request for proposals, and through the stage of coordination and submission of opinions following the request. The omission of the stage will shorten the process of the preparation of a plan by about two months.

The Bill will also regulate public display, which takes place during the stage of the preparation of the detailed design of a national designated spatial plan; extend the deadline for enforcing the procedure underlying the contracts under public law entered into for constructing or for funding the construction of civil engineering works intended for public use; and amend the implementing provisions.

Riho Breivel (Estonian Conservative People’s Party) took the floor during the debate.

59 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of passing the Act and 12 voted against.

The Bill on Amendments to the Medicinal Products Act and Amendments to Other Associated Acts (413 SE), initiated by the Government, will bring the Medicinal Products Act into conformity with the legal acts of the European Union that provide for rules on clinical trials on medicinal products for human use, clinical trials for veterinary medicinal products, and medicinal products under hospital exemption.

The Bill provides for the possibility to prepare and use advanced therapy medicinal products on a non-routine basis in hospitals. Standards will be set to ensure the quality and safety of medicinal products, and monitoring of treatment. Such advanced therapy medicinal products can be prepared and used only in accordance with the specifications of a specialist in Estonia and under his or her professional responsibility to treat an individual patient in hospital. They are medicinal products called advanced therapy medicinal products in the EU that are divided into gene therapy, somatic cell therapy and tissue engineered medicinal products and that offer patients advanced therapies for the treatment of certain types of diseases and dysfunctions. On the basis of the data obtained from the use of a medicinal product under hospital exemption, it will be possible later to start clinical trials with the medicinal product and then to reach application for marketing authorisation. The hospital exemption regulation allows planning specific development paths and cooperation opportunities between Estonian universities, biotechnology companies and hospitals.

The Bill will simplify the process for applying for authorisation for clinical trials, in particular when the applicant wishes to conduct a trial in many EU member states. In this case, throughout the whole process, the applicant communicates with the medicines agency of one Member State who coordinates the whole process and information exchange between the applicant and other Member States in the EU and who prepares the report on the scientific assessment of the application for trial. In the future, application for authorisation for a clinical trial will take place on the basis of a single application in all Member States with the help of a single authorisation application dossier through the clinical trials portal and in a paper-free manner. In the future, the sponsor will also pay a one-off payment in a Member State upon application for a clinical trial. At present, the sponsor pays three different fees in Estonia: a fee to the State Agency of Medicines, a fee to the ethics committee and a state fee. The Member States will assess an application for a clinical trial jointly and a single joint final decision will be drafted. The final results of a clinical trial will be in a joint database and publicly accessible and therefore more information will be public. The summary of the assessment of the trial as well as the results of the trial and the inspection will be made public.

Standards will also be set in order to ensure the quality and safety of the medicinal products that are administered to subjects in the course of clinical trials. Special attention will be paid to high-level protection of patient rights and safety. The Act also provides for a separate legal regulation for the preparation of radiopharmaceutical preparations.

65 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of passing the Act and 2 voted against.

The amendments proposed under the Bill on Amendments to the State Assets Act (421 SE), initiated by the Government, concern the activities of partially State-owned companies and foundations established by the State as well as the activities of ministries in performing the functions of the State as a shareholder or a founder.

In January last year, the Government approved the principles of participation policy on why and how the State is involved in companies. The Bill provides the consequent amendments in the Act.

The approved principles set the direction that the State would have a holding only in the companies where this is necessary in view of public interest or for some other strategic consideration. Earning revenue through participation in business is not an independent aim for the State, but an accompanying aim to acting in public interests. In the future, the participation of the State will be revised regularly at least every five years.

The most important amendment in the Bill is making it obligatory to set out the expectations of the State as the owner and regularly updating these every three years. The reporting principles of partially State-owned companies and of foundations whose founders include the State will be amended. The presentation of forecasts will be synchronised with the state budget strategy process.

With the Bill, deciding on the retaining of holdings kept only for the purposes of gaining revenue will be transferred from the ministerial level to the level of Government, but in the case of smaller holdings, where the participation does not exceed 10 per cent, the right to make decisions will be granted to the ministries.

Under the Bill, the accounting services of State foundations will be consolidated under the State Shared Service Centre.

The explanatory memorandum to the Bill points out that the new regulation will concern the activities of all ministries, as well as 28 companies and 65 active foundations where the State is an owner or a (co-)founder as of June 2021. At the end of 2020, the volume of assets of such companies and foundations was EUR 7.8 billion and EUR 2.2 billion respectively, the volume of revenues EUR 1.7 billion and EUR 0.9 billion, and the number of employees around 12,000 and 13,700.

72 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of passing the Act.

The Bill on Amendments to the Ports Act, the Maritime Safety Act and the State Fees Act (425 SE), initiated by the government, will transpose the relevant directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on port reception facilities for the delivery of waste from ships, amending a directive and repealing an earlier directive.

The definition of “waste from ships” will be introduced, which means all waste, including cargo residues, which is generated during the service of a ship or during loading, unloading and cleaning operations. The obligation of ships in notifying of waste from ships and in keeping records on waste from ships will also be amended.

Waste fished passively in the course of commercial fishing that is caught in fishing gear during fishing, for example derelict fishing gear and other marine litter, will be included under the definition of waste from ships. No separate fee may be charged in the port for delivering such waste; its delivery will be included in the fee for receiving waste from ships as part of the port dues. This amendment should help prevent the waste caught during commercial fishing from being discarded back into the sea.

71 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of passing the Act.

The Bill on the Ratification of the Agreement amending the Agreement on the Transfer and Mutualisation of Contributions to the Single Resolution Fund (481 SE), initiated by the Government.

Under the original Agreement, which entered into force in 2015, the European Union Member States committed to transfer to the EU Single Resolution Fund the contributions that they raise from banks.

Due to legal reasons, it was decided to separate the procedure for transferring contributions raised from the banks to the Resolution Fund and the order of using the funds collected there from the Single Resolution Mechanism Regulation which establishes the EU Single Resolution Board and sets out the general principles for forming a Resolution Fund, and to provide these in a separate intergovernmental agreement. Thus, the agreement amending this agreement is an intergovernmental agreement.

Due to the early introduction (i.e., before 2024) of the backstop measure of the Single Resolution Fund and the implementation of the amendments provided in the amending agreement, the Single Resolution Board will have more resources for the possible crisis resolutions of systemically important banks during the transition period. The main feature of the amendments is that during the transition period, when the Single Resolution Fund is still being formed from the contributions of banks and all resources are not yet in common use, the possible taking into common use of the extraordinary ex post contributions collected from banks will become faster.

The Estonian Conservative People’s Party Faction moved to suspend the second reading of the Bill. 11 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of the motion and 57 voted against. Thus, the motion was not supported.

57 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of passing the Act and 11 voted against.

One Bill passed the second reading

The Bill on Amendments to the Police and Border Guard Act (408 SE), initiated by the Government.

The Bill is intended to protect information from becoming available to people who could use the information for criminal purposes. With this in view, in the Police and Border Guard Act, the information on the manner of the processing of the data of the police database and the technological solutions and security measures of the database will be subject to a restriction on access for a period longer than that provided for in the current regulation of the Public Information Act. Under the Public Information Act, the term for restriction on access is up to five years and it may be extended by up to five years, but the Bill provides for the opportunity to extend the term for restriction on access for a total of 30 years.

During the debate, Paul Puustusmaa (Estonian Conservative People’s Party) took the floor.

The Estonian Conservative People’s Party Faction moved to suspend the second reading of the Bill. 13 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of the motion and 50 voted against. Thus, the motion was not supported and the second reading of the Bill was concluded.

One Bill passed the first reading

The Bill on Amendments to the Penal Code and the Family Law Act (change to the age-limit for sexual self-determination and marriage) (478 SE), initiated by the Government.

The Bill will take the age limit for sexual self-determination from the current 14 years to 16 years. The current Penal Code has set the age limit for sexual self-determination at 14 years, which means that a sexual intercourse between an adult and a child under the age of 14 is punishable as a sexual offence for the adult. In addition, the Bill introduces a so-called Romeo and Juliet provision, which would allow sexual relations between a young adult and a 14–15 year old minor without criminal prosecution if their age difference is up to five years. Thus, consensual sexual relations will be permitted for a 14-year-old minor with an adult up to 19 years old, and for a 15-year-old minor with an adult up to 20 years old. Age limits will also be amended in no-contact crimes (e.g., child pornography) in order to exclude prosecution for handling pornographic material created in a voluntary and age-appropriate relationship. For this purpose, the relevant necessary elements of a criminal offence will be amended with circumstances precluding guilt, and a five-year age difference is introduced.

The purpose of the amendments is to protect children from sexual exploitation by adults. At the same time, it is important not to punish children and teenagers for consensual sexual relations among themselves.

Additionally, the exceptional age of marriage in the Family Law Act will be repealed. Under the current Family Law Act, a person who has reached at least 15 years of age may marry if the court has extended the legal capacity of the minor for performing the acts that are necessary for contracting a marriage and for performing the rights and obligations arising from marriage.

During the debate, Heljo Pikhof (Social Democratic Party) and Henn Põlluaas (Estonian Conservative People’s Party) took the floor.

One Bill was dropped from the proceedings of the Riigikogu

The Bill on Amendments to the Income Tax Act (465 SE), initiated by the Member of the Social Democratic Party Faction and Member of the Riigikogu Raimond Kaljulaid.

The Bill intended to increase the tax-exempt income to match the minimum salary, so that as of 2022 the tax-exempt income would be EUR 654 a month, that is, EUR 7,848 a year. The explanatory memorandum states that the increase in the tax-exempt income would help the low-salaried persons to cope better, increase their motivation to work and stay on the labour market, and reduce the burden on the social system.

During the debate, Mihhail Stalnuhhin (Centre Party) and Riina Sikkut (Social Democratic Party) took the floor.

The Finance Committee as the lead committee moved to reject the Bill at the first reading. 54 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of the motion and 29 were against, and thus the Bill was dropped from the legislative proceedings of the Riigikogu.

Verbatim record of the sitting (in Estonian)

Photos of the sitting (Author: Erik Peinar, Chancellery of the Riigikogu)

Video recordings of the sittings of the Riigikogu can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/riigikogu.
(Please note that the recording will be uploaded with a delay.)

Riigikogu Press Service
Liisa Johanna Lukk
Phone: +372 631 6456, +372 5331 0789
E-mail: liisajohanna.lukk@riigikogu.ee
Questions: press@riigikogu.ee

Feedback