At Thursday's sitting, the Riigikogu received and overview of the activities of the Estonian Development Fund in 2014-2015 and discussed issues relating to economy and enterprise.
The Chairman of the Board of the Estonian Development Fund Pirko Konsa said that, over seven years, the Development Fund had invested 14 million euro, to which 40 million euro from co-investors had been added, in a total of 22 enterprises. “These enterprises provide employment for over 200 people in Estonia and, in addition, for nearly 100 people abroad,” Konsa said. “The venture capital investment market in Estonia has gone through a rapid development; it is by far not perfect but it is totally functioning. Estonian start up companies have involved a total of over 170 million euro from investors in nine years, and more than half of it during the last two years,” Konsa added.
As examples of start-up companies, Konsa pointed out Fits.me that provides the virtual fitting room service, and Grab CAD enterprises that provides a collaboration platform for engineers. The Development Fund has sold its holding in these companies over the recent year.
Konsa described the programme “Startup Estonia” that supports the establishment of start up companies. As important activities he highlighted the programme targeted at businesses engaging in clean technology, and the changing of the legal environment so that settling in Estonia would be comfortable and flexible for foreign talents.
Konsa attached importance to dialogue on the long-term objectives of Estonia. For that, the Development Fund has established the development forum “Estonian Way 2030”. “We will present our proposals on the long term objectives of Estonia to the Riigikogu at the beginning of the coming year,” Konsa said.
Konsa said that, in the case of both investments and foresight, the task of the Development Fund is to look for totally new solutions, or “shaking innovation”. “If big countries can be successful in many areas, then Estonia must be able to specialise smartly,” Konsa explained.
Konsa raised the question of how to increase the number of healthy life years of Estonian people. “At present, every added average healthy life year means approximately 14 000 additional healthy persons capable for work on the labour market,” Konsa said. “The first step in that direction would be to open the Estonian health care system more to private enterprise and to make it a favourable ground for new products and services,” he offered for solution.
Krista Aru, Mihhail Korb, Maris Lauri and Urve Palo took the floor on behalf of factions during the debate.
The Riigikogu passed with 78 votes in favour the Bill on Amendments to the Customs Act (22 SE), initiated by the Government. The Act simplifies declaration of goods of a non-commercial nature for natural person. Natural persons will be allowed to always declare goods of a non-commercial nature that are for personal use with a simplified declaration regardless of the value or weight of the goods.
The Act also gives the customs the right to verify whether goods are counterfeit. The Act specifies the procedure for establishing an infringement of intellectual property rights in the customs.
The granting of permission for the use and the procedure for revocation of TIR-carnets is provided at the level of an Act. TIR (Transport International par Route) carnet is a customs document that facilitates customs procedures upon the crossing of state borders. The Act gives the deciding on the issues of the uniform and insignia of customs officials to the competence of the Minister of Finance and the Director General of the Tax and Customs Board.
The Riigikogu approved with 72 votes in favour the Resolution of the Riigikogu “Release of the Justice of the Supreme Court Tõnu Anton from the Office of Justice” (104 OE), initiated by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. The Resolution provides for release of Tõnu Anton from the office of justice of the Supreme Court as of 27 April 2016.
The Riigikogu approved with 62 votes in favour (5 against and 5 abstentions) the Resolution of the Riigikogu “Removal of a Member and Appointment of a New Member of the Supervisory Board of the Estonian Development Fund” (109 OE), initiated by the Economic Affairs Committee. The Resolution provides for removal of Jevgeni Ossinovski from the Supervisory Board and appointment of Urve Palo a new member of the Supervisory Board.
The Riigikogu rejected a Bill at the first reading:
The Bill on Amendments to the State Legal Aid Act (14 SE), initiated by the Estonian Centre Party Faction. The Bill provided for change of the language requirement for submission of applications for state legal aid in order to give the possibility to submit applications in Russian, besides Estonian. According to the Bill, it would not be possible for the court to automatically return an application for state legal aid in case of failure to meet the language requirement.
Dmitri Dmitriev who made a report said that the aim of the Bill is to preclude a situation where a person does not have a real possibility to turn to the state to obtain legal aid because he or she is sufficiently proficient in Estonian. “The Bill would improve the protection of the fundamental rights of the people living in Estonia,” Dmitriev said.
The Chairman of the Legal Affairs Committee Heljo Pikhof said that it is important to ensure state legal aid for everyone who is entitled to receive it regardless of whether the person who needs aid is able to complete the relevant application in Estonian or not. “There is no immediate need to amend the Act that is in force today because no applications for legal aid have been rejected on grounds of the language of submission, and applications submitted in Russian have been accepted for processing,” Pikhof said.
Andres Anvelt and Henn Põlluaas took the floor on behalf of factions during the debate. They did not support this Bill.
The result of voting: 49 in favour and 20 against, thus the Bill was rejected at the first reading.
Video recordings of the sittings of the Riigikogu can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/riigikogu
Your feedback is important. Please share it with us!