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At today’s sitting, the Riigikogu passed a number of Resolutions concerning the Defence Forces missions. Seven of them concern extending of missions.

The Resolution of the Riigikogu “Extension of the Time Limit for the Use of the Defence Forces in the Fulfilment of the International Commitments of the Estonian State in France’s Military Operation Barkhane in Mali” (263 OE), submitted by the Government, extends the time limit for the use of the Defence Forces in the fulfilment of the international commitments of the Estonian state in France’s military operation Barkhane in Mali until 31 December 2021 from 1 January and reduces the maximum number of the Defence Forces personnel to up to 75 servicemen.

60 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of passing the Resolution, three voted against, and there was one abstention.

The Resolution of the Riigikogu “Extension of the Time Limit for the Use of the Defence Forces in the Fulfilment of the International Commitments of the Estonian State in the UN Peacekeeping Mission in Lebanon” (264 OE), submitted by the Government, extends the time limit for the use of up to three servicemen in the fulfilment of the international commitments of the Estonian state in the United Nations-led international peacekeeping mission UNIFIL (United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon) in Lebanon until 31 December 2021 from 1 January.

64 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of passing the Resolution.

The Resolution of the Riigikogu “Extension of the Time Limit for the Use of the Defence Forces in the Fulfilment of the International Commitments of the Estonian State in the European Union Training Mission and the UN Peacekeeping Mission in Mali” (265 OE), submitted by the Government, extends the time limit for the use of up to ten servicemen in the European Union training mission EUTM Mali (European Union Training Mission in Mali) until 31 December 2021 from 1 January.

The Resolution also provides for the extension of the time limit for the use of the Defence Forces in the fulfilment of the international commitments of the Estonian state in Mali in the United Nations peacekeeping mission MINUSMA (United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali) until 31 December from 1 January and a reduction in the maximum number of the Defence Forces personnel to up to five servicemen.

58 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of passing the Resolution and one voted against.

The Resolution of the Riigikogu “Extension of the Time Limit for the Use of the Defence Forces in the Fulfilment of the International Commitments of the Estonian State in the Post-Conflict Peacekeeping Mission in Lebanon, Israel, Egypt and Syria” (266 OE), submitted by the Government, provides for the extension of the time limit for the use of up to six servicemen in the United Nations-led peacekeeping mission UNTSO (United Nations Truce Supervision Organization) in Lebanon, Israel, Egypt and Syria until 31 December 2021 from 1 January.

59 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of passing the Resolution.

The Resolution of the Riigikogu “Extension of the Time Limit for the Use of the Defence Forces in the Fulfilment of the International Commitments of the Estonian State in the International Military Operation ‘Inherent Resolve’” (267 OE), submitted by the Government, extends the time limit for the use of the Defence Forces in the United States-led international military operation “Inherent Resolve” until 31 December 2021 from 1 January and reduces the maximum number of the Defence Forces personnel to up to ten servicemen.

62 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of passing the Resolution.

The Resolution of the Riigikogu “Use of the Defence Forces in the Fulfilment of the International Commitments of the Estonian State in the Composition of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Readiness Units” (268 OE), submitted by the Government, provides for the use of up to 70 servicemen as necessary from 1 January to 31 December 2021 in the composition of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Response Force NRF (NATO Response Force) and up to 200 servicemen in the composition of the NATO Readiness Initiative in a military operation organised for the purpose of maintaining or restoring peace and security on the basis of Chapter VI or VII of the Charter of the United Nations and in any other international military operation in accordance with generally recognised principles and provisions of international law.

61 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of passing the Resolution.

The Resolution of the Riigikogu “Use of the Defence Forces in the Fulfilment of the International Commitments of the Estonian State in Another International Military Operation Led by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization or its Member State, the European Union or the UN upon the First Contribution thereto” (269 OE), submitted by the Government, provides for the use of up to 50 servicemen, as necessary, from 1 January to 31 December 2021 in a military operation organised for the purpose of maintaining or restoring peace and security on the basis of Chapter VI or VII of the Charter of the United Nations, led by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization or its Member State, the European Union or the United Nations, or in any other international military operation in accordance with generally recognised principles and provisions of international law, upon the first contribution thereto.

63 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of passing the Resolution.

The Resolution of the Riigikogu “Extension of the Time Limit for the Use of the Defence Forces in the Fulfilment of the International Commitments of the Estonian State in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Mission in Iraq” (270 OE), submitted by the Government, provides for the extension of the time limit for the use of the Defence Forces in the fulfilment of the international commitments of the Estonian state in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization mission in Iraq until 31 December 2021 from 1 January and an increase in the maximum number of the Defence Forces personnel in this mission to up to 40 servicemen.

62 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of passing the Resolution.

The Resolution of the Riigikogu “Use of the Defence Forces in the Fulfilment of the International Commitments of the Estonian State in the Composition of the United Kingdom’s Joint Expeditionary Force” (271 OE), submitted by the Government, provides for the use of up to 24 servicemen as necessary from 1 January to 31 December 2021 in the composition of the United Kingdom’s Joint Expeditionary Force in a military operation organised for the purpose of maintaining or restoring peace and security on the basis of Chapter VI or VII of the Charter of the United Nations and in any other international military operation in accordance with generally recognised principles and provisions of international law.

59 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of passing the Resolution.

The Resolution of the Riigikogu “Extension of the Time Limit for the Use of the Defence Forces in the Fulfilment of the International Commitments of the Estonian State in the Training and Advisory Mission in Afghanistan” (273 OE), submitted by the Government, allows contributing with up to 46 servicemen in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)-led training and advisory mission RSM (Resolute Support Mission) in Afghanistan from 1 January to 31 December 2021.

63 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of passing the Resolution.

The Draft Resolution of the Riigikogu “Use of the Defence Forces in the Fulfilment of the International Commitments of the Estonian State in the European Union Military Mission EUNAVFOR Med/Irini” (274 OE), submitted by the Government, provides for the use of up to six servicemen in the fulfilment of the international commitments of the Estonian state in the European Union military mission EUNAVFOR Med/Irini from 1 January to 31 December 2021.

On 22 June 2015, the European Union launched the military operation EUNAVFOR Med/Sophia in the central area of the Mediterranean to combat and prevent the activities of criminal networks engaged in human trafficking and the deaths of refugees on their journey across the Mediterranean to Europe.

61 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of passing the Resolution.

Three Bills passed the second reading

The Bill on Amendments to the Local Government Financial Management Act and the Maritime Safety Act (282 SE), initiated by the Finance Committee, will enable local governments to increase their net debt burden. This is necessary in order that, in the emergency situation due to the spread of COVID-19 and in the period following it, local governments could take larger loans as necessary to stimulate economy and make necessary investments in the circumstances of a slowdown of revenue growth in 2020–2027.

In ordinary circumstances, the upper limit for net debt burden for each local government is a sixfold value of its operating result or 60 per cent of its operating revenue. At present, the upper limit for net debt burden has been set at the tenfold value of operating result or 80 per cent of operating revenue as an exceptional case for 2020 and 2021. The Bill will extend the exemption for the upper limit for net debt burden until the end of 2024. From then on, the upper limit will gradually decrease in 2025–2028.

The Bill also amends the Maritime Safety Act to implement a reduction of the waterway due. The amendment is due to the need to support the continuation of international maritime transport through Estonian ports and to motivate consignors to direct their trade flows through Estonian ports.

The Bill on Amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety Act and Other Acts (257 SE), initiated by the Government, will define at the level of Act the aim of the working environment database, the data collected and the retention periods of data on the basis of the Personal Data Protection Act. The Bill provides for a new requirement for the employer to draw up a risk assessment of the working environment in the working environment database or to forward the risk analysis to the Labour Inspectorate in a format which can be reproduced in writing.

The purpose of the Bill is to facilitate the creation of a safe working environment and to reduce the administrative burden for employers in complying with occupational health and safety requirements. For this, the working environment database will be developed, facilitating the communication of agencies and businesses with the state and offering new services. The Bill will increase the extent of the liability of the employer and the employee in the working environment.

The amendments included in the Bill are intended to reduce employees’ own liability when they fall ill and to reduce the risk of people going to work when ill and thereby the spread of the COVID-19 disease over four months starting from January. According to the Bill, upon compensation for the days of sick leave, employees’ own liability will decrease to one day instead of the current three days, and the employer will begin to pay for four days instead of five.

During the debate, Riina Sikkut (Social Democratic Party) and Tõnis Mölder (Centre Party) took the floor on behalf of their factions.

The main aim of drafting the Bill on Amendments to the Law of Obligations Act (lease relationships) (232 SE), initiated by the Government, is to stimulate and develop the leasing market and thereby to offer people the option of leasing a place of residence as a sensible alternative to owning a home. The lease regulation has remained unchanged for nearly 20 years.

As a result of the amendments, market participants will be enabled to regulate their mutual relations more flexibly, at the same time keeping in mind the need to rely on balanced solutions.

For example, the absolute ban on contractual penalty in the case of residential lease contracts will be eliminated and in the future it will be possible for parties to agree on the distribution of the repair obligation. According to the Bill, the lessor will have the right to cancel the contract due to delay in payment by the lessee in the event of smaller arrears or a shorter delay (two months instead of three).

At the same time, the Bill provides for restrictions on the amount of contractual penalty, several content and format requirements for agreements on the repair obligation, as well as more extensive notification obligations for lessor upon cancellation due to delay in payment.

Heljo Pikhof (Social Democratic Party) took the floor during the debate, and on behalf of her faction moved to suspend the proceedings on the Bill at the second reading. Nine members of the Riigikogu voted for the suspension and 47 voted against.

The Riigikogu did not support a draft Resolution

The Draft Resolution of the Riigikogu “Making a Proposal to the Government of the Republic to Organise the Provision of Preschool and School Education in Estonia Uniformly and in the Estonian Language” (243 OE), submitted by the Estonian Reform Party Faction, was intended to make a proposal to the Government to organise the provision of preschool and school education in Estonia uniformly and in the Estonian language. According to the explanatory memorandum to the draft Resolution, this would have ensured the cohesion of society and ensured young people’s competitiveness and equal access in education and the labour market regardless of their native language. At the same time, non-Estonian students would be ensured the possibility to study their native language and culture.

During the debate, Mart Helme (Estonian Conservative People’s Party), Oudekki Loone (Centre Party), Katri Raik (Social Democratic Party), Priit Sibul (Isamaa) and Kaja Kallas (Reform Party) took the floor.

At least 51 votes were needed for the Resolution to be passed. 36 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of passing, 43 voted against and there was one abstention.

Minister of the Environment Rain Epler replied to the interpellation concerning the developments in forestry (No. 41) submitted by members of the Riigikogu. Among other things, the members of the Riigikogu wished to know the minister’s opinion on the new forestry development plan that had got stuck. When answering the questions, Epler said that today he had signed the decision on the dissolution of the steering council that had been formed to draw up the forestry development plan up to 2030 because the steering council had failed in its task, and he promised to ensure that a new development plan would be completed as soon as possible.

Jevgeni Ossinovski (Social Democratic Party) took the floor as one of interpellators during the debate.

At the beginning of the sitting, alternate member of the Riigikogu Imre Sooäär took his oath of office.

The sitting ended at 10.10 p.m.

Verbatim record of the sitting (in Estonian)

Photos of the sitting (Author: Erik Peinar, Chancellery of the Riigikogu)

The video recording of the sitting is available to watch on-demand on the Riigikogu YouTube channel.
(Please note that the recording will be uploaded with a delay.)

Riigikogu Press Service
Veiko Pesur
Phone +372 631 6353, +372 5559 0595
E-mail veiko.pesur@riigikogu.ee
Questions press@riigikogu.ee

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