The Riigikogu passed six Acts and a Resolution:
The Act on Amendments to the Competition Act and Amendments to Other Associated Acts (321 SE), initiated by the Government, was passed with 84 votes in favour. The amendments extend the competence of the Competition Authority, granting it the right to approve obligations assumed by undertakings and to order, where appropriate, interim measures for undertakings. This gives the Competition Authority additional opportunities to exercise competition supervision and to implement the most appropriate and flexible measures, taking into account the circumstances of every case and the accompanying consequences. The Act was amended by adding a provision extending the limitation period for an offence related to competition to three years instead of the current two years. The Act enters into force pursuant to general procedure, except for clause 1 8) which enters into force on 1 January 2014.
The Act on Amendments to the Code of Misdemeanour Procedure (375 SE), initiated by the Government, was passed with 67 votes in favour. The aim of the amendments is to create a possibility to raise the quality of evidence and reduce disputes. Clear bases for video and sound recording of procedural acts and using such recordings as evidence are established which will reduce potential disputes concerning evidence in misdemeanours. Another significant purpose of the Act is to enable an official of an extra-judicial body who has directly ascertained the facts of a misdemeanour to participate as a witness in court and complaint proceedings. 16 members of the Riigikogu voted against the Act.
The Act on Amendments to the Building Act (429 SE), initiated by the Government, was passed with 79 votes in favour. The purpose of the amendments is to ensure conformity of Estonian legislation with European Union legislation. As of 1 July 2013, the European Council Directive 89/106/EEC will be repealed and Regulation (EU) No 305/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down harmonised conditions for the marketing of construction products and repealing Council Directive 89/106/EEC will be fully applicable. This Regulation concerns harmonised conditions for the marketing of construction products used in construction works. The Act provides for an obligation for the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications to grant the right to act to a technical assessment body which meets the requirements of the Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council.
The Act on Amendments to the European Union Common Agricultural Policy Implementation Act (432 SE), initiated by the Government, was passed with 71 votes in favour. The amendments concern the power granted to establish the legislation necessary for application of the common agricultural policy, the “LEADER approach” and the recovery and repayment of aid. It will be possible for the Government and the Minister of Agriculture to establish an individual act, that is, an administrative act in a matter of application of the European Union Common Agricultural Policy which under European Union legislation may be decided by the Member State, for regulating a single case, where necessary. The Act also increases transparency and integrity in the running of the LEADER approach local action groups and encourages members of local action groups to participate more actively in the decision-making process of the action group. This Act updates the provisions concerning the recovery and repayment of aid and repayment of aid by instalments, and the calculation of interest on the amount to be repaid, and brings the provisions into conformity with European Union legislation which has been amended.
The Act on Amendments to the Feedingstuffs Act (431 SE), initiated by the Government, was passed with 77 votes in favour. The purpose of the Act is to bring the provisions concerning the handling and use of feedingstuffs containing animal protein and the registration and approval of establishments into conformity with European Union law. The amendments help to ensure traceability and a high level of consumer protection throughout the feed and food chain, to enhance feed hygiene and to reduce the risk that contaminated products enter the food chain.
The new Museums Act (374 SE), initiated by the Government, was passed with 69 votes in favour. The Act provides for the definition of a museum, the bases for the activities of museums and the organisation of museum collections, and the conditions for compensation by the state for damage caused to an owner of an international exhibition. As compared with the Museums Act which entered into force in 1996, significant amendments concern the scope of application of the Act and the principles of replenishment of museum collections. The range of museums to whom a museum collection owned by the state may be granted for use is extended. A wider purpose of the new Museums Act is to ensure the sustainable development of Estonian museums and to link the historical knowledge stored in museum collections better to the needs of today’s society: to increase the quality of collection decisions and thereby museum collections, to enhance the system of maintaining records on museum objects, and to make the information in museums, including the digital images of museum objects and digital museum objects, available to the public free of charge on the web. The Act enters into force on 15 July 2013; the provisions regulating the establishment of a fee for services provided by state museums enter into force on 1 January 2014.
The Resolution “Use of the Defence Forces in the Performance of the International Duties of the Estonian State in the European Union Training Mission and the UN Peacekeeping Mission in Mali” (437 OE), initiated by the Government, was passed with 67 votes in favour. It provides for the use of up to eight members of the Defence Forces in the European Union Training Mission in Mali (EUTM Mali) until 31 December 2013. The maximum limit for the staff of the Defence Forces can be increased to up to 16 members of the Defence Forces in the rotation period within one month as of the arrival of the members of the Defence Forces who participate in the rotation in Mali. The objective of EUTM Mali is to provide military training as well as train and advise the Malian armed forces. Four members of the Riigikogu abstained in the voting.
At the second reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Basic Schools and Upper Secondary Schools Act and Other Associated Acts (340 SE), motions to amend were voted on. The aim of the Bill is to update the organisation of education: to better ensure equal availability of high-quality education and to change the forms of operation of basic schools and upper secondary schools, the organisation of studies, the management of schools, the work of teachers and remuneration of their work, and the principles of financing of schools. The Cultural Affairs Committee made a proposal to omit from this Bill the planned amendments relating to financing.
At Wednesday’s sitting which lasted all night until Thursday morning, 73 of the total of 92 motions to amend were voted on. The voting on motions to amend will continue at Thursday’s sitting at 10 a.m.
On the motion of the Social Affairs Committee, the Bill on Amendments to the State Family Benefits Act (435 SE), initiated by the Estonian Centre Party Faction, was rejected at the first reading. 53 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of the motion to reject and 39 voted against, thus the Bill was dropped from the legislative proceeding.
The sitting ended on 20 June at 9.50 a.m.
The Riigikogu Press Service
19/20 June 2013
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