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Today, the Minister of Justice Urmas Reinsalu gave to the Riigikogu an overview of the implementation of “The Development Objectives of Legal Policy until 2018” this year.

Urmas Reinsalu noted that, as at 1 January, 379 Acts had been in force in Estonia, and a total of 237 Acts had been amended since then. “However, the number of legislative amendments does not give information on the content or necessity of the amendments. This is why the Government of the Republic, under the leadership of the Ministry of Justice, is focused on ensuring that in the early stage of legislative drafting, that is, in the stage of legislative intent, there would be public discussion, and the ways to solve the problems that have arisen would be analysed, and it would be asked if it is possible to solve the problem without legislative amendment,” the minister said.

The minister said that, according to the development objectives of legal policy, every Act that was drafted had to be effective, and impacts had to be assessed for that. “The Ministry of Justice as the authority responsible for the quality of the legislative process and drafts of the Government has been developing an impact assessment system for years – with the help of inspection as well as training and international cooperation,” Reinsalu noted.

He also underlined the importance of the activity regarding the European Union. “A half of the volume of the legislative drafting, in the grand scheme of things, that reaches this parliament is in fact transposition of European Union law. And the issue of what the legal policy choices of the European Union are in the quality of legislative drafting is an important cornerstone also for us in the Ministry of Justice during the presidency,” Reinsalu said. The minister pointed out that one of Estonia’s priorities within the framework of the presidency had been good legislative drafting and the implementation thereof in the digital society.

In his speech, Reinsalu also dwelt upon the language issues relating to drafts and emphasised the importance of using good legal language.

The minister expressed the hope that new development objectives of legislative drafting would be born in good cooperation and involvement with the Estonian public, all political groups of MPs as well as the sectoral committees of the Riigikogu.

During the debate, Jaanus Karilaid from the Centre Party Faction, Raivo Aeg from the Pro Patria and Res Publica Union Faction, Liisa Oviir from the Social Democratic Party Faction, Hanno Pevkur from the Reform Party Faction and Külliki Kübarsepp from the Free Party Faction took the floor and presented their positions.

The representatives of the factions presented their positions on the processes and quality of legislative drafting.

The Riigikogu passed four Acts:

The Population Register Act (382 SE), initiated by the Government, contains a new comprehensive updated regulation. The Act provides for the composition of data in the population register and the procedure for the maintenance of the population register, entry of data on residence in the population register, grant of personal identification code, processing of data, ensuring access to data, and exercise of supervision over these activities.

With an important amendment, the data entered into the population register is given legal effect. Contact details (e-mail address and telephone number), and vital statistics data based on statements in the case of which the data of source documents are lacking from the register, have no legal effect.

The Act reduces the deadlines for submission of residential address. Under the current Act, a person must submit the data of a new residence within thirty days after moving to the new residence. In the future, the term will be fourteen days. In addition, the owner of a space will be notified of amendments to the data related to his or her spaces via the e-mail address “eesti.ee”.

The Act also makes several amendments regarding the maintenance of the register. In granting accesses, the entry into multilateral contracts provided for in the current Act has been eliminated. A new working environment for processing accesses will be created for the processing of applications to gain access and of rights to access.

85 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of the Act.

The Act on Amendments to § 76 of the Medicinal Products Act (481 SE), initiated by the Social Affairs Committee, provides for a measure to ensure consistent availability of medicinal products for Estonian patients. The Act influences the holders of marketing authorisations for medicinal products to market authorised medicinal products in Estonia, and motivates them to actually do so.

83 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of the Act and there was one abstention.

The Act on Amendments to the Food Act and the Feed Act (487 SE), initiated by the Government, incorporates references to the relevant new EU Regulation in the area of novel foods into the Food Act. The main amendment concerns the authorisation procedure for implementation of a novel food. The current authorisation procedure at Member State level will become an EU’s central authorisation procedure. When the Act enters into force, there will be no need for the Advisory Committee on Novel Foods because, in the future, the European Commission will make a decision on authorising the placing on the market of such food and request a safety assessment from the European Food Safety Authority. The explanatory memorandum notes that ‘novel food’ means any food that was not used for human consumption to a significant degree within the Union before 1997.

77 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of the Act and 7 were against.

The Act on Amendments to the Fisheries Market Organisation Act (465 SE), initiated by the Government, specifies the rules for the organisation of the grant of state aid to fisheries and de minimis aid and for the disclosure of the data concerning such aid. To implement the European Commission Regulation, a procedure that increases the transparency of the granting of the aid is established, according to which the grantor of aid must disclose through the Ministry of Rural Affairs the grantings of state aid to fisheries that exceed 30 000 euro on the relevant website of the European Commission.

At the same time, grantors of aid (the Estonian Agricultural Registers and Information Board, foundations, including the Environmental Investment Centre, the Rural Development Foundation, etc.) are obligated to submit data of de minimis aid to fisheries to the register of state aid and de minimis aid maintained on the basis of the Competition Act. This simplifies the monitoring of various ceilings for the aid.

83 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of the Act.

Verbatim record of the sitting (in Estonian) http://stenogrammid.riigikogu.ee/en/201710251400.

Video recordings of the sittings of the Riigikogu can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/riigikogu (NB! The recording will be uploaded with a delay.)

Riigikogu Press Service
Marie Kukk
631 6456; 58 213 309
Questions: press@riigikogu.ee