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The Riigikogu passed two Acts:
The Act on Amendments to the Obligation to Leave and Prohibition on Entry Act (793 SE), initiated by the Government, was passed with 77 votes in favour. The Act establishes common rules for returning, removing, detaining and applying entry bans with regard to third-country nationals illegally staying in European Union Member States, ensuring at the same time protection of the fundamental rights of persons recognised in European Union and international law.
The Act on Amendments to the Support of Enterprise and State Loan Guarantees Act and the Euro Adoption Act (811 SE), initiated by the Government, was passed with 80 votes in favour. The Act increases the maximum amount of loan guarantees by 50 million kroons and extends the circle of recipients of the guarantee in order to eliminate unequal treatment of financial institutions operating on the leasing services market.
Chairman of the Estonian Centre Party Edgar Savisaar, Head of Kymenlaakso Liaison Office in Estonia Pekka Linnainen, Chairman of the Estonian Chamber of Agriculture and Commerce Aavo Mölder, and Member of the Estonian Centre Party Faction Arvo Sarapuu made reports at the deliberation of the matter of significant national importance “Rural Life Needs New Objectives”.
Savisaar said that a responsible government should not be a passive bystander in the issues of preservation and development of rural life but had to actively contribute to the development of rural life both with its budget and taxation policy as well as by organisational arrangements of financing of necessary programmes and research. “Today we can notice the deepening of gaps between regions in employment, possibilities of education for young people, essential health care and other important everyday spheres,” said Savisaar. According to him, peripherisation is intensified by reducing finances urgently needed for the organisation of local everyday life and knowingly weakening the budgets of rural municipalities and cities. Savisaar explained that the unavoidable results of this are emptying of villages and young people leaving the country on the one hand and excessive forced urbanisation or migration of population on the other hand. “But this means unbalancing the economic, social and demographic development of the whole Estonia. It also means excessive accumulation of completely new economic, social and environmental problems both in the country and in densely populated areas, and in general, decrease in the quality of life in the whole country,” remarked the Chairman of the Centre Party.
Linnainen introduced the experience of Finland in solving the problems of rural life and the objectives of planned reforms. The reforms of regional administration have three aims: separate development activities, separate supervision and bringing the functions of implementing legislation to regional local administration level.
Mölder remarked that the situation of agriculture should be thoroughly analysed, bringing out the weaknesses and strengths of the sector. He thought it was necessary to publish the results of the analysis to the consumers in order to avoid the alienisation of the country and the city. As concrete measures, Mölder suggested the need to reduce the VAT rate on food products in Estonia to approximately 10 per cent, and also the reduction of the excise duty rate of diesel fuel used in agriculture. Mölder also spoke about the problems connected with paying of direct payments.
Sarapuu spoke about the issues connected with the resolutions adopted at the Country People’s Congress that took place in Paide. He pointed out the proposals to improve rural life through investments, direct payments, taxation policy and organisational reforms.
Kaia Iva, Aleksei Lotman, Kalev Kotkas, Rein Aidma, Arvo Sarapuu,  Jaanus Marrandi, Ester Tuiksoo and Marek Strandberg took the floor during the debate.
Due to the end of working time, the Riigikogu did not deliberate the Transformation of Debts and Debt Protection Bill (743 SE), initiated by the Legal Affairs Committee. The Bill will be deliberated during the next working week.
The sitting ended at 1.02 p.m.
The Riigikogu Press Service