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The Riigikogu concluded the first reading of five Bills:

The Draft Resolution of the Riigikogu “Amendments to the railway sphere of “Transport Development Plan for the Years 2006-2013”” (163 OE), submitted by the Government, provides approval of the amendments in the railway sphere of “Transport Development Plan for the Years 2006-2013”. The supplemented version brings in the update of the situation of the ownership relation of the Estonian Railways Ltd. A reference to the restructuring plan contained in the business plan of the Estonian Railways is also included. According to the plan, the enterprise will be split into three independent companies in the beginning of 2009, that is, the Estonian Railways Ltd and two subsidiary companies. One of them is going to engage in the management of infrastructures, and the other, in carriage of goods. The description of the situation has been updated in paragraphs concerning transit because the East- West transit volumes pertaining to Russia were on the growth at the time of preparing the development plan. However, these volumes saw a significant decrease in 2007. The forecasts of transit volume have been corrected in the development plan.

The Bill on Amendments to the Land Improvement Act and Associated Acts (189 SE), initiated by the Government, provides specifications of the regulation concerning land improvement associations. The bases for determining land improvement systems and the data to be entered in the register of land improvement systems are also specified. With a view to better informing of the public of land improvement systems which to the most part are underground and therefore imperceptible, the amendment to the Planning Act provides the obligation of indicating land improvement systems in county and rural municipality comprehensive plans.

The Bill on Amendments to the Traffic Act and the Penal Code and Associated Acts (179 SE), initiated by the Government, aims at organising of the regulation concerning traffic offences, stepping up of the sanctions system and increasing of the efficiency of proceedings of traffic offences. The Bill amends the Penal Code by introducing a new principal punishment to be applied for misdemeanour, that is, withdrawal of the right to drive which is now imposed only as supplementary punishment. The Bill provides the possibility of also confiscating the proprietary right of the user of a leased car if the means used for commission of the offence is an object which was being used under a contract of use. At present, only a vehicle belonging to the offender can be confiscated.

The main objective of the Bill on Amendments to the State Borders Act, the Penal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure (185 SE), initiated by the Government, is to introduce amendments into the Code of Criminal Procedure as regards international cooperation in criminal procedure. The Bill implements the measures provided in the Framework Decision of the Council of the European Union for ensuring that procedural decisions related to seizure of property or depositing of evidence which are made in one Member State are executed in an expedient manner and based on the principle of mutual recognition in another Member State. Also, the regulation of criminal procedure is specified in connection with the accession to the Schengen visa area. The Bill amends the regulation of cross-border surveillance, extends the investigation competence of the Border Guard Administration, and recognises the passport of a citizen of a foreign state as an important identity document.

The purpose of the Bill on Amendments to the Commercial Code and the Council Regulation (EC) No 2157/2001 on the Statute for a European Company (SE) Implementation Act (186 SE), initiated by the Government, is to transpose into the Estonian legislation the directive amending the Capital Requirements Directive. This directive simplifies and updates the Capital Requirements Directive in order to further enhance the efficiency of business activity and competitiveness without prejudice to the protection of shareholders and creditors.

At Question Time, the Minister of the Environment Jaanus Tamkivi answered questions about resource tax, sea pollution and identification of polluters, forestry policy and the spreading of alien species in the Baltic Sea. The Minister of Finance Ivari Padar answered questions about fiscal policy, reserves and budget. The Minister of Defence Jaak Aaviksoo answered questions about foreign missions, the situation of prisoners, and development of the defence forces.

The verbatim record of the sitting (in Estonian) is available at: https://www.riigikogu.ee/?op=steno

The Riigikogu Press Service