Riigikogu passed two Acts.
The Act on Amendments to the Seafarers Employment Act and the Community-scale Involvement of Employees Act (329 SE), initiated by the Government, was passed with 80 votes in favour. It transposes the relevant European Union directive. It concerns the organisation of working time in inland waterway transport, and the employment rights of seafarers to obtain information from the employer and to be involved in the resolution of issues that concern their interests.
The Act creates the possibility for crew members of ships carrying goods by sea who work for community-scale undertakings to participate in European Works Councils. ‘Community-scale undertaking’ means any undertaking with at least 1 000 employees within the Member States and at least 150 employees in each of at least two Member States. In Estonia, AS Tallink Group satisfies these criteria.
‘European Works Council’ means an employee representative body composed of employees from each Member State where the undertaking operates. The aim of Works Council is to ensure that employees are informed of what is going on in the undertaking, and to give them the possibility to express their opinion in issues affecting the employees’ interests. At present, this possibility is ensured in all other sectors in which a Community-scale undertaking operates.
With the Act, the obligation to enter into a contract under public law for the provision of medical long distance consultation services free of charge that has so far been the obligation of the Ministry of Social Affairs is transferred to the Health Board as of 1 January 2018.
The Act on Amendments to the Military Service Act, the Imprisonment Act and the Code of Misdemeanour Procedure (346 SE), initiated by the Government, was passed with 87 votes in favour. According to it, if a disciplinary arrest is imposed on a serviceman, he or she can serve it also in a detention house of the police, besides the detention houses of the Defence Forces.
The nearest detention house of the police is chosen for execution of an arrest, where possible. Lodging in a detention house is organised by the Defence Forces, and the cost of detaining a serviceman under arrest is also compensated from the budget of the Defence Forces. In the passing of the Act it was explained that an estimated up to 100 servicemen per year are sent to the detention houses of the police to serve a sentence, and the average duration of detention is seven days. The main reasons for punishment by detention are use of alcohol or drugs, unauthorised absence from service, use of violence in military service, embezzlement of cartridges and imitation devices obtained in the course of military training, and repeated disobedience.
The Riigikogu concluded the second reading of four Bills
The Bill on Amendments to the Rural Development and Agricultural Market Regulation Ac (340 SE), initiated by the Government, will provide for the legal bases for granting subsidies for promoting local life under the regional programmes transferred to the area of administration of the Ministry of Rural Affairs. It also updates and specifies the aspects relating to the granting of state aid, de minimis aid and other aid. The amendments relating to the implementation of regional programmes and the grant of state aid concern in particular the activities of the implementing authorities, meaning the bodies granting aid.
The Act also amends the legal bases for the control measures against wild oats. Wild oats have become hard-to-control weeds in Estonia that can spread quickly and cause significant economic damage in cereal fields. Wild oats can be controlled effectively if they are controlled in an integrated manner throughout the whole agricultural sector. The current procedure does not help control the spread of wild oats fast enough, and its spread has not decreased in Estonia. To more effectively stop the spread of hard-to-control weed, the bureaucratic obligations of farmers to notify the Agricultural Board of wild oats and to draw up a wild oat control plan will be eliminated. Instead, it will be possible to begin to control a dangerous weed as soon as it appears in the field.
Inara Luigas, who took the floor in the debate, stressed that the Bill improved the openness and transparency of the use of funds in the regions involving the programmes. Urmas Kruuse said that it is important to restrain the proliferation of wild oats and to minimise bureaucracy. He considered it important to pay attention to the efficiency of the implementation of regional programmes.
The Bill on Amendments to the Identity Documents Act (323 SE), initiated by the Government, will amend the regulation concerning the suspension and revocation of the certificates entered in identity documents. So far, this regulation was contained in the Digital Signatures Act which was repealed with the entry into force of the Electronic Identification and Trust Services for Electronic Transactions Act.
The Bill on Amendments to the Procurement, Handling and Transplantation of Cells, Tissues and Organs Act and the State Fees Act (278 SE), initiated by the Government, will transpose into Estonian law two relevant European Commission directives that ensure that cells and tissues imported from third countries comply with European Union standards of quality and safety. The Bill specifies that tissues and cells used for advanced therapy medicinal products will have to be traceable at least until transferred to the ATMP manufacturer. After the implementation of the directives, the State Agency of Medicines will have to record in the EU Tissue Establishment Compendium all undertakings who engage in the procurement and handling of cells and tissues and to whom the relevant activity licence, including the import certificate, has been issued.
The explanatory memorandum notes that, at present, nine undertakings engage in the handling of cells and tissues in Estonia, two of whom engage in the importation of cells and tissues from third countries. Upon entry into force of the Act, these two undertakings will have to apply for the relevant import certificate. An activity licence for manufacturing of advanced therapy medicinal products has been issued to one undertaking. Advanced therapy medicinal product is a medicinal product intended for gene therapy or somatic cell therapy or a tissue engineered product. Starting from 29 April 2017, a single European code consisting of a donation identification sequence and a product identification sequence will be allocated to all cells and tissues procured and handled, and to manufactured products derived therefrom.
The Bill on Amendments to the Spatial Data Act and Amendments to Other Associated Acts (355 SE), initiated by the Government, will ensure unambiguity of the regulations in order solve the problems relating to the development of the spatial data infrastructure that have become apparent in practice. Spatial data are data with a direct or indirect reference to a specific location or geographical area. They include data administered in the databases which describe the location, characteristics and shape of spatial objects in geographic space.
The explanatory memorandum notes that the current Act provides that address numbers used in proximate addresses established according to traffic areas must be established, if possible, in the manner pursuant to which land units or buildings located next to each other on one side of a traffic area have odd numbers and land units or buildings located next to each other on the other side of the traffic area have even numbers. Such an optional provision has caused many disputes and misunderstandings. The practice in Europe is that land units or buildings located next to each other on one side of a traffic area are numbered with odd numbers and, on the other side, even numbers are used. The European practice should be followed also in Estonia. Such an approach ensures the finding of buildings and land units in geographical space which is one of the main functions of location address.
In the current Act, the definitions “densely populated areas” and “areas where the preparation of a detailed plan is mandatory” are used. The above-mentioned concepts have caused confusion as specialists of different fields give different content to them, and there is no definite border between densely populated areas and low population density areas. Planners regard all cities, towns and small towns automatically as densely populated areas, but such an approach is not suitable upon the establishment of location addresses. Low population density areas may in some cases (for example, for nature conservation purposes) fall under the obligation to prepare a detailed plan, but it is not expedient to apply the requirements of unique address or addressing according to address units in such areas. Also, in some cities of Estonia, there are large areas that are not inhabited, nor are they going to become densely populated areas in the near future (for example, Paldiski, Kohtla-Järve, Tapa, etc.). Therefore it is not expedient to regard the land units of a whole city as address objects requiring unique addresses. Thus this provision will be reformulated. In practice there have been problems with measurement work in respect of geodetic marks where the owner of an immovable has ensured access to a mark and has permitted maintenance work but not measurement, because the law does not directly provide for it.
The aim of the amendment of the Commercial Code and the Non-profit Associations Act is to ensure interoperability of the commercial register and the non-profit associations and foundations register with the Address Data System information system.
The aim of the amendment of the Population Register Act is to give the authorised processor the right to create temporary address data in the population register on the application of a local government until the registration of an address in the Address Data System information system. This is necessary in order to guarantee a person the possibility to register his or her residence, and the rights arising therefrom.
The first reading was concluded
The Riigikogu concluded the first reading of the Draft Resolution of the Riigikogu “Approval of “The Fundamentals of Climate Policy until 2050”” (362 OE), submitted by the Government.
The fundamentals of climate policy until 2050 determine Estonian climate policy’s long-term goals and the road to meeting these goals. The focus is on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and mitigating climate change in the fields of energy, transport, industry, agriculture and forestry. Estonia’s long-term goal is to switch to an economy with low carbon emissions, which means a gradual purposeful transformation of the economy and energy system to be more resource-efficient, productive and environmentally sound.
Estonia has the target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to approximately 80 per cent below 1990 levels by 2050. An impact analysis has shown that this goal is realistic and will likely result in a positive impact on the economy and energy security.
Video recordings of the sittings of the Riigikogu can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/riigikogu
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