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A Bill that will enable household consumers to buy electricity at a controlled production price, that is, as a universal service, passed the second reading in the Riigikogu today. In addition, the parliament concluded the first reading of seven Bills.

The Bill on Amendments to the Electricity Market Act and the Competition Act (655 SE), initiated by the Government, will enable the price of the production of electricity to be delimited and electricity to be sold to household consumers as a universal service. The Bill will impose an obligation on the national company Eesti Energia to also sell electricity as a universal service to Estonian household consumers and all electricity resellers from this October to 30 April 2026. In addition, upon the entry into force of the Act, 63 sellers of electricity in Estonia will have an opportunity to begin selling electricity within the framework of a universal service.

The Bill will not provide for a price of the universal service but will set out the price formation principles. The Competition Authority will set the price, taking into account production costs and a reasonable profit of the electricity producer. Sellers of electricity may factor in selling costs. The base price will be the production price of Enefit Power approved by the Competition Authority, to which the justified costs and reasonable operating profit of the universal service provider will be added. Electricity sellers will have to publish the price of the universal service on their websites.

Electricity sellers who provide a universal service will have an obligation until the end of this year, and thereafter a right, to offer their clients automatic transfer to universal service if the price of the electrical energy sold to the consumer thus far has been higher than the price of the universal service. The consumer will not need to do anything to agree to an offer. However, in order to reject an offer, the consumer will have to inform the seller of their wish at least two days before the entry into force of a new contract. Consumers will be able to reject at any time a universal service that has already been launched.

Until 30 September 2023, consumers will be able to transfer to the universal service without paying a contractual penalty for the termination of a contract in force.

During the debate, Martin Helme, Helle-Moonika Helme, Henn Põlluaas, Rene Kokk, Mart Helme, Urmas Reitelmann, Kalle Grünthal and Siim Pohlak from the Estonian Conservative People’s Party Faction, Taavi Aas and Tõnis Mölder from the Centre Party Faction, Kalvi Kõva and Toomas Jürgenstein from the Social Democratic Party Faction, Aivar Kokk, Heiki Hepner and Tarmo Kruusimäe from Faction Isamaa and Annely Akkermann and Kristen Michal from the Reform Party Faction took the floor.

Seven Bills passed the first reading

The Bill on Amendments to the Aliens Act (561 SE), initiated by Faction Isamaa, passed the first reading in the Riigikogu. It provides for the creation of a legal basis for the revocation of the residence permits of public supporters of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine. The Bill will also preclude the issue of new residence permits and visas to them.

Henn Põlluaas from the Estonian Conservative People’s Party Faction and Mihhail Lotman from Faction Isamaa took the floor during the debate.

The lead committee moved to reject the Bill, but the plenary did not support the motion. One member of the Riigikogu supported the rejection of the Bill and 26 voted against.

The Bill on Amendments to the Vital Statistics Registration Act (597 SE), initiated by the Government, passed the first reading. It will update the marriage and divorce procedures and implement electronic administration. In the future, there will be no need to go to the vital statistics office to submit applications for marriage and divorce, as it will be possible to submit them online. It will also be possible to submit applications for marriage and divorce certified with a digital signature to notaries online.

When the amendments enter into force, the two-stage proceedings for marriage and divorce will remain in place. This means that, after an application is submitted, it will still be required to appear in person to contract a marriage at the presence of a vital statistics official, a notary or a minister of religion, and it will be required to appear in person at the vital statistics office on the day of divorce.

The Bill is connected with the development of the digital and e-governance and with the aim of introducing event-based services. The creation of the possibility to submit electronic applications for marriage and divorce is a necessary precondition for integrating the services relating to marriage and divorce as life events into a single proactive government service. It is planned that the proactive government service will also include the possibility to change a name automatically and to apply for new documents relating to a name change.

Kert Kingo from the Estonian Conservative People’s Party Faction took the floor during the debate.

The Estonian Conservative People’s Party Faction moved to reject the Bill at the first reading, but the motion was not supported. 12 members of the Riigikogu voted for the rejection and 41 voted against.

The Bill on Amendments to the Military Service Act and Other Acts (623 SE), initiated by the Government, passed the first reading. It will reform how the state of health of persons liable to the national defence obligation and persons applying for the national defence obligation is assessed in medical commissions.

The Bill will terminate the activities of medical commissions as administrative bodies. Instead of the current three-member commission, the right to assess the state of health will be given to doctors appointed by the Defence Resources Agency and the Defence Forces. In order to assess if a person’s state of health complies with the health requirements, the Bill will give doctors default access to the data in the health information system, but people will retain the possibility to prohibit access if they wish. The Bill will also provide for more specific supervision of the use of the insignia and uniform of a serviceman outside military service and will establish a reserve service for the alternative service.

Heiki Hepner from Faction Isamaa took the floor during the debate.

The Bill on Amendments to the Local Government Organisation Act and Associated Acts (626 SE), initiated by the Government, passed the first reading in the Riigikogu. It will increase the right to self-organisation of municipalities by omitting from the Act the detailed provisions setting out the internal organisation of municipalities.

With a view to enhancing democracy, the Bill will make involvement of residents more flexible: in the case of a local public initiative, the submission of a legislative proposal will no longer be required. In the future, residents will be able to submit initiatives in free form and the initiatives can also concern issues of local life that do not require the adoption of a legal act. Also, at least 10 per cent of the residents of a municipality who have the right to vote will have the possibility to initiate local public polls. Municipal councils will decide on the eventual conduct of such polls.

During the debate, Jaak Valge from the Estonian Conservative People’s Party Faction, Heiki Hepner from Faction Isamaa and Reili Rand from the Social Democratic Party Faction took the floor.

The Bill on Amendments to § 10 of the Employment Contracts Act (625 SE), initiated by the Government, passed the first reading. According to it, employers will have an opportunity to enter into short-term employment contracts with the unemployed in more cases. Such contracts guarantee greater protection to employees than contracts for services and authorisation agreements.

Under the current procedure, it is possible to enter into a fixed-term employment contract successively, i.e., with a less than two-month interval, twice at a maximum, or to extend it once. Due to the restrictive regulation, employers may enter into other contracts under the law of obligations, e.g., authorisation agreements and contracts for services, instead of employment contracts. In such cases, however, the employee remains without labour law protection; for example, the working time limits and the requirements for the minimum remuneration and rest and occupational safety are not applied.

According to the Bill, it will be allowed to enter into up to eight-day fixed-term employment contracts within six months without limits. However, it will have to be taken into account that, if a new fixed-term employment contract is entered into after a six-month period, the contract becomes a contract entered into for an unspecified term. An unemployed person will be allowed to do gig work up to eight days in a month and in a total of 12 calendar months within 24 months.

During the debate, Heljo Pikhof from the Social Democratic Party Faction and Anti Poolamets from the Estonian Conservative People’s Party Faction took the floor.

The Bill on Amendments to the Criminal Records Database Act (621 SE), initiated by the Government, passed the first reading. It will bring the Act into conformity with an EU directive in order to enhance information sharing between Member States and to regulate the exchange of criminal records information on people who are not EU citizens.

At present, mostly the criminal records information on citizens of member states is exchanged through the European Criminal Records Information System. For the exchange of criminal records information on third-country nationals, it is planned to adopt a single information system through which, in the future, it will be possible to identify more efficiently whether a third-country national or a statelessness person has a criminal record for committing a crime in an EU Member State. With the implementation of the amendments, the security of information exchange between Member States will also increase as the same high-level requirements apply to Member States.

Tarmo Kruusimäe from Faction Isamaa took the floor during the debate.

The Bill on Amendments to the Code of Civil Procedure and Other Acts (implementation of the Council Regulation (EU) 2019/1111 on jurisdiction, the recognition and enforcement of decisions in matrimonial matters and the matters of parental responsibility, and on international child abduction (recast)) (622 SE), initiated by the Government, also passed the first reading. Its aim is to improve the cooperation of judicial and administrative authorities and to facilitate the enforcement of decisions in family law matters with cross-border implications.

The amendments will facilitate the application of the EU Regulation on the review of jurisdiction in family law matters with cross-border implications, and the recognition, declaration of enforceability and enforcement of decisions given in such disputes. For this, the Bill will set out the procedure as to how a child who has been residing in another Member State is placed in Estonia. At the same time, the age limit for hearing a child will be omitted from the Code of Civil Procedure. It will also be set out which officials and authorities will issue certificates under the Regulation, and the Ministry of Justice and the Social Insurance Board will be designated as the central authorities who will carry out the obligations under the Regulation.

The amendments will facilitate the cooperation of judicial and administrative authorities in international matrimonial matters, matters of parental responsibility, and matters relating to international child abduction. The recognition and enforcement of decisions in Estonia will also become simpler.

The sitting ended at 9.13 p.m.

Verbatim record of the sitting (in Estonian)

The video recording of the sitting will be available on the Riigikogu YouTube channel. (Please note that the recording will be uploaded with a delay.)

Riigikogu Press Service
Karin Kangro
Phone: +372 631 6356, +372 520 0323
E-mail: [email protected]
Questions: [email protected]

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