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Chancellor of Justice Indrek Teder presented a report to the Riigikogu on exercise of supervision over the conformity of the legislation of general application with the Constitution and the Acts, and respect for fundamental rights and liberties, and over performance of other tasks imposed by Acts. The Chancellor of Justice based his report on the timelessness of statehood provided in § 1 of the Constitution and on the principle that the activities of all three state powers – the legislative, executive and judicial power – must be targeted to securing the rights and freedoms of people. Indrek Teder: “In running the state, the fundamental rights and freedoms of persons, the human dimension, tend sometimes to be neglected, with expediency as the only focus. Adopting the so-called “power of order” domination pattern is especially dangerous in a small state where every disproportionate infringement of a fundamental right is highly visible.” In the opinion of the Chancellor of Justice, the aim of Estonia’s statehood is to preserve person as a member of the society, and thereby the whole Estonian society. He pointed to the two sides to the survival of members of the society: survival in the sense of ensuring order and survival in the sense of physical health.

In his report, Teder pointed to deficiencies in the judicial system as well as in custodial institutions. In Teder’s view, the proceedings of the Estonian judicial system are not understandable to people. Also, the Chancellor of Justice expressed his disagreement with the idea which is spreading in Estonia that European Union legislation is absolutely dominant and Estonia has no sovereign decision-making authority whatsoever in that regard. “Estonia has neither legal nor essential grounds to go into conflict with the fundamental principles of the Constitution, that is, to give up the sovereign right to establish its own rules and settle disputes. With the support to the strengthening of the European Union, the protection of fundamental rights must not be jeopardised. The Parliament has an important role in setting such strategic course,” said Teder.

Members of the Riigikogu asked the Chancellor of Justice many questions. Comments were presented by Members of the Riigikogu Urmas Reinsalu, Evelyn Sepp, Marek Strandberg, Jaanus Marrandi and Väino Linde.

On the motion of the Social Affairs Committee as the leading committee, the first reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Unemployment Insurance Act, the Income Tax Act and the Labour Market Services and Benefits Act (295 SE), initiated by the Estonian Centre Party Faction, was concluded. The purpose of the Bill is to extend the circle of the people who receive redundancy payment, to increase the unemployment insurance benefit and to make it available also to people who cease employment on own initiative or by agreement with the employer; to increase unemployment allowance; to make in-service training which is compensated to the provider of training by the Unemployment Insurance Fund available to people occupied with work, as a means of preventing unemployment; to eliminate the obligation to pay fringe benefit tax on the costs of formal education of employees in order to facilitate studying for working population, and to eliminate the obligation to pay fringe benefit tax on health promotion costs which will create conditions for developing the behaviour and way of life which values and promotes human health. The Bill was sent to the second reading.

The first reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Earth’s Crust Act and the Sustainable Development Act (298 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded. The amendments are made with the aim of adding relevant provisions to the Earth’s Crust Act to ensure that the annual rate of oil shale use established in the Oil Shale Use National Development Plan is achieved. The volume and trends of the use of oil shale have been agreed upon at the national level in “The Oil Shale Use National Development Plan 2008-2015”. The objective in implementation of the oil shale use development plan is to achieve the maximum limit of 15 million tons per year in oil shale mining by 2015. As the maximum annual rate of oil shale mining specified in the currently valid permits totals 23.75 million tons, the Bill provides legal possibilities for reducing the annual rate set out in the permits. The Bill was sent to the second reading.

Due to the end of the working hours of the sitting of the plenary assembly, the first reading of the Draft Resolution on approval of “Oil Shale Use National Development Plan 2008-2015” (300 OE) was adjourned. The deliberation will be resumed tomorrow, at the sitting beginning at 2 p.m.

The Riigikogu Press Service