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The Riigikogu passed three Acts at the last regular sitting of its autumn session.

The purpose of the Act on Amendments to the Code of Criminal Procedure and the Forensic Examination Act (implementation of the Regulation on the mutual recognition of freezing orders and confiscation orders and the Regulation on the European Public Prosecutor’s Office) (261 SE), initiated by the Government, is to ensure cooperation between the European Union Member States in the mutual recognition of freezing and confiscation orders according to an EU Regulation that is applicable from 19 December 2020.

According to the Act, the Prosecutor’s Office will be the competent authority to handle and execute freezing orders, and the Harju County Court will have the competence to recognise the orders. The Ministry of Justice will have the competence to handle confiscation orders and courts will have the competence to recognise confiscation orders. The mutual recognition of freezing and confiscation orders is expected to become faster, as the above regulation provides for specific deadlines for the recognition and execution of the orders.

In addition, the Act will make an amendment in connection with the application of the EU Regulation providing for the establishment of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office. The Act will provide the powers of the European Prosecutor and the European Delegated Prosecutor in criminal proceedings.

The Act amends the provisions that give the Prosecutor General a certain procedural competence. It also provides that in fulfilling their duties linked to the European Public Prosecutor’s Office, the European Prosecutor and the European Delegated Prosecutor will enjoy the same rights as the Prosecutor’s Office under the Code of Criminal Procedure. It also specifies the competence of the Prosecutor’s Office in pre-trial procedure, the procedure for resolving appeals, and the signing of the work contract of the head of an expert agency.

91 members of the Riigikogu were in favour of passing the Act.

The Act on Amendments to the Natural Gas Act (256 SE), initiated by the Government, will transpose the EU directive concerning common rules for the internal market in natural gas.

The amendments are related to the additional obligations of the Competition Authority with regard to the conduct of cross-border disputes and the regulation for the conclusion of agreements with third countries on the operation of transmission lines and upstream pipeline networks. It also specifies the starting of the negotiations between a third country and Estonia for the conclusion of agreements on the operation of transmission lines and upstream pipeline networks, concluding the contract, and receiving the relevant permission from the European Commission.

85 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of passing the Act, one abstained.

The Act on Amendments to the Estonian Public Broadcasting Act (122 SE), initiated by the Reform Party, will extend the target group and the range of persons with hearing disabilities to whom the Estonian Public Broadcasting must ensure the availability of the original programmes offered by the television programme services to the best of their ability.

With the Act, the word “vaegkuuljatele” (“persons with hearing disabilities”) will be replaced with the words “kuulmispuudega inimestele” (“persons with hearing loss”) in the third sentence of clause 5 (1) 1) of the Estonian Public Broadcasting Act. The essential meaning of this sentence is that the original programmes of the Estonian Public Broadcasting must be made available to the maximum extent possible to people with hearing disabilities. Original programmes also include, among other things, public communications, speeches and welcoming addresses by heads of state that are intended for the whole society and are broadcast on national television, and which currently are not always interpreted into sign language.

85 members of the Riigikogu were in favour of passing the Act.

The Riigikogu passed a total of 59 legal acts during the 2020 autumn session.

After the sitting, Santa Claus came to the Riigikogu and gave his point of view of the activities of the members of the Riigikogu.

Verbatim record of the sitting (in Estonian):

Photos: (Author Erik Peinar, 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

Gunnar Paal

+372 631 6351, +372 5190 2837

gunnar.paal@riigikogu.ee

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