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The Riigikogu expressed support to democracy in Georgia and passed two Resolutions. Three drafts passed the first reading.

In the Statement of the Riigikogu “On the Crisis of Democracy in Georgia” (449 AE), submitted by 44 members of the Riigikogu, the parliament condemns the activities of the Government and the parliamentary majority of Georgia in passing the Law on Transparency of Foreign Influence and abandoning the European values.

In the Statement, the Riigikogu points out that despite widespread protests, calls from the EU and Georgia’s allies and a veto by the President of Georgia, on 28 May the Parliament of Georgia, with the votes of the ruling party Georgian Dream, passed the Law on Transparency of Foreign Influence, which is inspired by the Russian Federation’s so-called Foreign Agents Law that the Putin regime uses to repress civil society, the media and political opposition.

According to the Statement, the EU, the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe as well as the Georgian civil society have declared the law to be contrary to the European Convention on Human Rights and the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, as it violates the principles of the rule of law, legality and proportionality, as well as non-discrimination.

In the Statement, the Riigikogu condemns the activities of the Government and the parliamentary majority of Georgia in passing the Law on Transparency of Foreign Influence and abandoning the European values and calls on the Parliament and Government of Georgia to immediately repeal the Law on Transparency of Foreign Influence.

The Riigikogu also calls on the Government of Georgia to stop using violence against demonstrators, civil society and opposition politicians, to carry out legal investigations in regard of the authorities and individuals who have used violence against peaceful protesters, to uphold its promise to promote the rule of law and protect human rights, and to implement the reforms that are demanded by the overwhelming majority of the citizens of Georgia and are a precondition for the accession to the EU.

The Statement underlines that as long as the Government and Parliament of Georgia have not started to resolve the democratic crisis in a way that respects the rule of law and civil rights, have not returned to the reform and democratisation programme agreed upon with the EU, and have not repealed the Law on Transparency of Foreign Influence, the Riigikogu considers it necessary for Estonia to block in the Council of the European Union all further processes relating to Georgia’s accession in the EU, freeze development cooperation with Georgia’s state agencies and use the funds released to support Georgian civil society.

The Riigikogu also considers it necessary to propose to the Council of the European Union to impose sanctions, including an entry ban into the European Union, on Bidzina Ivanishvili, members of the Government of Georgia, the leaders of the Parliament of Georgia and the leadership and Parliamentary Group of the Georgian Dream party. If this proposal is not supported, the Riigikogu wants Estonia to impose sanctions of the Government of the Republic, including an entry ban into the Republic of Estonia, against these persons.

The Parliament of Estonia also wants that Estonia proposes to the Council of the European Union to impose sanctions on the representatives of the power structures and law enforcement agencies of Georgia who have been involved in the violent suppression of peaceful demonstrations of the citizens of Georgia and the repressing of Georgia’s opposition and civil society. If this proposal is not supported, the Riigikogu wants Estonia to impose sanctions of the Government of the Republic against these persons.

The Riigikogu also considers it necessary that Estonia supports in the Council of the European Union the freezing of the visa-free regime between Georgia and the European Union until the Law on Transparency of Foreign Influence is repealed. “The Riigikogu expresses its respect to the brave Georgian people who stand for Georgia’s democratic and pro-European future,” the Statement says.

Lauri Laats (Centre Party), Ester Karuse (Social Democratic Party) and Tõnis Lukas (Isamaa) took part in the debate.

At the final vote, 57 members of the Riigikogu were in favour of the Statement and 13 were against and thus the Statement was passed.

The Riigikogu passed two Resolutions

The Resolution of the Riigikogu “Appointment of a Member of the Supervisory Board of the State Forest Management Centre” (454 OE), submitted by the Environment Committee, was passed. It provides that, in connection with the termination of Jevgeni Ossinovski’s authority as a member of the Supervisory Board of the State Forest Management Centre, Member of the Riigikogu Anti Allas is appointed a member of the Board to replace him.

At the final vote, 59 members of the Riigikogu were in favour of the Resolution.

The Resolution of the Riigikogu “Removal of a Member and Appointment of a New Member of the Supervisory Board of the Foundation Environmental Investment Centre” (455 OE), submitted by the Environment Committee, was also passed. It provides that Reili Rand is removed from the Supervisory Board of the Foundation Environmental Investment Centre and Member of the Riigikogu Eduard Odinets is appointed as a member of the Board.

At the final vote, 57 members of the Riigikogu were in favour of the Resolution.

Three drafts passed the first reading

The Bill on the Accession to the Convention for the Establishment of a European Organization for Nuclear Research and its Financial Protocol and Protocol on Privileges and Immunities (451 SE), initiated by the Government, passed the first reading. It provides Estonia’s accession to the Convention for the Establishment of a European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) and its Financial Protocol and Protocol on Privileges and Immunities. This will be necessary to become a full member of CERN.

The status of a full member of CERN is important to Estonia because Estonia will no longer be subject to the financial ceiling on participation in CERN’s procurements and employment contracts. CERN’s procurements are technology-intensive and rigorous, and thanks to CERN’s reputation, winning them is a very high quality mark for an exporting company. In cooperation with CERN, it is also possible to develop new products and technologies and to bring knowledge from cutting-edge science to business. In addition, full members have voting rights in the CERN Council, Finance Committee, and Scientific Policy Committee. Through the CERN Council, Estonia will be able to participate in CERN’s decision-making processes and management, including in the planning of new research programmes and experiments, and in making decisions about them.

23 countries are members of CERN, including the majority of European Union member states. Estonia was granted associate member status on 1 February 2021. At the CERN Council meeting on 22 March last year, the Council endorsed Estonia’s full membership.

The Bill on the Ratification of the Agreement between  the Government of the Republic of Estonia and  the Government of the State of Qatar  for the Elimination of Double Taxation  with respect to Taxes on Income  and the Prevention of Tax Evasion and Avoidance  and its Protocol (450 SE), initiated by the Government, passed the first reading. It will ratify the agreement between the Governments of Estonia and Qatar for the elimination of double taxation with respect to taxes on income and the prevention of tax evasion and avoidance and its protocol. The agreement for the elimination of double taxation is broadly in line with the OECD Model Convention. The agreement prohibits the source state from taxing certain types of income, imposes a lower-than-usual tax rate or requires the residence state to introduce tax exemptions or deductions.

The source state may not withhold income tax on dividends and interest paid to a resident of the other state if the dividends or interest are beneficially owned by a company, and in other cases five percent of the gross amount of the dividends or interest may be withheld. The tax charged on royalties may not exceed five per cent of the gross amount of the royalties. The source state does not have the right to tax dividends or interest beneficially owned by the other state, a local authority, a central bank, and in the case of Estonia, also the Rural Development Foundation and the Estonian Business and Innovation Agency, as well as any other entity which is controlled by the Government of  Estonia or Qatar as may be agreed from time to time between the competent authorities of the Contracting States.

The Draft Resolution of the Riigikogu “Grant of Consent to Increasing the Quota of the Republic of Estonia in the International Monetary Fund” (440 OE), submitted by the Government, also passed the first reading. According to it, Estonia’s quota will increase by 121.8 million Special Drawing Rights (SDR) of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), or about 150 million euro, after the quota review. In total, Estonia’s quota will be 365.4 million SDRs, or about 450 million euro.

At the same time, the contribution to increase the quota will mark the end of the 164-million-euro loan agreement between Eesti Pank and the IMF, which has not been used by the IMF. Thus, the volume of financial obligations to the IMF will not change significantly for Estonia, but the form of financial obligations will change.

The quota increase will be paid to the IMF by Eesti Pank, so it will have no impact on the national budget. As long as Estonia does not need a loan from the IMF, the quota increase will not affect Eesti Pank’s balance sheet. The size of a country’s IMF quota also determines the size of the loan it can request from the IMF in the event of a crisis.

Verbatim record of the sitting (in Estonian)

Video recording will be available to watch later on the Riigikogu YouTube channel.

Riigikogu Press Service
Maris Meiessaar
+372 631 6353, +372 5558 3993
[email protected]
Questions: [email protected]

 

 

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