The Riigikogu suspended the second reading of the Bills on amendments to the Tobacco Act and the Land Reform Act and to the Acts related thereto in order that amendments could be incorporated.
The Bill on Amendments to the Tobacco Act and the Alcohol, Tobacco, Fuel and Electricity Excise Duty Act (9 SE), initiated by the Government, will transpose two articles of the EU Tobacco Directive, on the basis of which a European-wide tracking and tracing system for tobacco products will be implemented to curb the black market in tobacco.
According to the directive and the implementing acts, all over the European Union, unit packets of tobacco products will be labelled with a unique identifier, and a tamper-proof security feature will be installed on them. In Estonia, tax stamp will be introduced as the security feature. It complies with the requirements of EU legislation. If no tax stamp is installed on a product, the security feature of the manufacturer will have to be installed on the product.
According to the Bill, it will be permitted to add menthol flavour in electronic cigarettes. The general prohibition on the sale of smokeless tobacco products will also be repealed in Estonia, and handling of novel smokeless tobacco products will be included. Prohibitions on tobacco for oral use, chewing tobacco, nasal tobacco and other smokeless tobacco products remain in force. In addition, the Tobacco Act will be amended by adding a new category of tobacco products – heated tobacco products.
During the debate, Tarmo Kruusimäe (Isamaa), Aivar Kokk (Isamaa) and Vilja Toomast (Reform Party) took the floor.
The Bill on Amendments to the Land Reform Act, the Act on Acquisition of Land on which Usufruct Has Been Established during Land Reform, and the State Assets Act (87 SE), initiated by the Rural Affairs Committee.
The Bill will enable natural persons for whose benefit a usufruct on land has been established to grant use of the land to other persons provided that agricultural production is continued on the land. An additional condition will be set to the effect that the usufructuary will be entitled to grant use of land to a company if more than half of the company is owned by them or their spouse or relative. It is important that the person in whose use the land is meet the above-mentioned conditions during the whole duration of the use of the land.
The Bill will also regulate the extension of usufruct contracts. Under the current law, extension of usufruct is performed under the Land Reform Act which is however not in accordance with the general principles for the administration of state assets and the principles of EU competition law. There is a conflict with state aid rules and the principle of equal treatment of persons. Usufruct contracts should be extended on the basis of the State Assets Act.
According to the Bill, in order to extend a usufruct for up to 15 more years, the usufructuary will have to submit a written application to the Land Board not later than three months before extinguishment of the usufruct. In the case when a usufruct extinguishes before 31 August this year, the usufructuary will still have the right to submit an application to extend the contract for the establishment of usufruct on the current basis, that is, within three months after the due date for extinguishment of the usufruct. The contract will not be extended if the land on which the usufruct has been established is required for the exercise of the powers of state, to a local government for the performance of its functions or for other public purposes.
For the uniform application of the conditions for the use of state assets, a market-based use fee will be set as the fee for an extended usufruct. The minimum rate for the use fee will be set at ten euro. The usufructuary will also be obligated to pay land tax and other ancillary costs, taxes and encumbrances relating to the immovable property. In addition, the Bill will specify the conditions for carrying out cutting on land on which an extended usufruct has been established, and the set-off for costs incurred for improvements beyond ordinary maintenance.
The Bill provides that, after a usufruct has been extended, the usufructuary will have the right to apply for acquisition of the land under the Act on Acquisition of Land Subject to Usufruct in Land Reform. In addition, the possibility of redemption will not be restricted during two years after the extension of usufruct.
Video recordings of the sittings of the Riigikogu can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/riigikogu.
(Please note that the recording will be uploaded with a delay.)
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