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The Riigikogu passed three Acts:
The Biocides Act (446 SE), initiated by the Government, which brings the legislation regulating the marketing and use of biocides into conformity with the European Union law, was passed with 76 votes in favour. The purpose of the Biocides Act is to protect human and animal health, environment and property by establishing the relevant requirements for biocides and the marketing and use thereof. A prerequisite for safe use and admission on the market of biocides is granting of marketing authorisation for biocides and inclusion of active substances intended for use in biocidal products in the relevant Annexes of the Biocides Directive. Application of uniform requirements on the marketing and use of biocides in the European Economic Area is a prerequisite for ensuring free and safe movement of goods between the member states.
The Act on Amendments to § 23³ of the Land Reform Act (472 SE), initiated by the Environment Committee, which extends the current term for approving the list of persons for whose benefit a usufruct on vacant agricultural land is established, which is 1 June 2009, until 1 January 2010, was passed with 76 votes in favour.
The Act on Amendments to the Funded Pensions Act and the Social Tax Act (476 SE), initiated by the Government, which suspends contributions to mandatory funded pensions in full amount as of 1 June 2009 until the end of 2010 and in half amount in 2011, was passed with 51 votes in favour (30 votes against). The regular payments regime will be resumed as of 2012. As an exception, the Act provides the possibility that those who have joined the second pillar as well as those who are going to join the second pillar in 2009 have the right to submit an application for continuing their 2 per cent contributions to mandatory funded pensions as of 2010. The state will continue to make the 4 per cent payments to persons who were born in the years 1942–54 who have also submitted an application on account of social tax as of 2010. A “compensation mechanism” has been created according to which persons who join at a later period can make contributions with higher rates.
Thereafter, the Riigikogu deliberated the Estonian Human Development Report 2008 as a matter of significant national importance.
The central axis of the Human Development Report under deliberation is the quality of life of Estonian people and society which runs through all the chapters of the document.
Väino Linde, Chairman of the Constitutional Committee, who made a report, expressed the position of the Committee saying that the Estonian Human Development Report 2008 is an honest reflection of our life and reality. It includes both new information and important matters to think about and discuss, as well as fresh angles to issues which we think we actually know and the answers. Linde stressed that all issues of the quality of life are directly related to how economic crisis is influencing our life. At the same time, issues relating to quality of life are long term and are connected with protection of the constitutional rights of people. Linde referred to a discussion in the Constitutional Committee where they found that a good income or possession of a car or a new house does not necessarily mean good life. “In this matter, people’s state of health, their work, work satisfaction, relationships with others, involvement in their community, personal security and, naturally, emotional wellbeing, feeling of happiness also play a great role here,” Linde highlighted the issues which had been discussed. “For all these reasons, it is important in the situation of economic crisis that economic policy try to avoid negative impacts first of all on the quality of children’s life. Increase of general health risks should also be prevented and, what is paramount – the state should be able to avoid panic and aggravation of ethnic and social tensions. This is also what the submitters of this report recommended in the Constitutional Committee,” noted Linde.
Erik Terk, editor of the Estonian Human Development Report 2008, spoke about the economic factors which influence our human development. Terk stressed that economic growth and economic development had come about not only as a result of harmony of the factors of production but to a great deal through developing human and social capital. Terk noted that the current development model of Estonia had helped maintain the balance of the state budget but it had failed to contribute at the necessary level to creation of social and human potential for future development.
Marju Lauristin, chief editor of the Estonian Human Development Report 2008, pointed out our human development risks which inhibit successful functioning and sustainability of the society. She stressed the importance of solving the problems related to life expectancy of people: our men have too short life expectancy and women have poor health which manifests itself in a long and sickly old age. Lauristin underlined that changing of the situation should be the main objective of the development of Estonia. Otherwise we cannot speak about securing of economic life.
The Riigikogu Press Service