At today’s sitting, the Riigikogu passed the Act that establishes a single database to hold the biometric data that are acquired within the frameworks of various national proceedings and that are currently held in different databases.
56 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of the Act and 38 were against.
The Act on Amendments to the Identity Documents Act and Amendments to Other Associated Acts (366 SE), initiated by the Government, will create a legal basis for the establishment of an automated biometric identification system database ABIS. The main purpose of the ABIS database is to consolidate into a single database the biometric data that are acquired within the frameworks of various national proceedings and that are currently entered into different databases, to use a single software in different information systems, and to make one-to-one and one-to-multiple automatic comparisons of biometric data. If the biometric data are consolidated into a single national database, the state will be able to ensure a central and uniform approach to the processing thereof.
The biometric personal data to be consolidated into the ABIS database are collected and processed under various Acts even today but the infrastructure for processing the data is dispersed and does not enable an equal or uniform management of such data, including ensuring its security. Besides, the current information technology solutions for personal identification and the verification of identity are outdated and need to be updated.
In the course of the second reading, amendments were made to the Bill in the interests of legal clarity and, among other things, provisions were included under which biometric data processed for the purposes of personal identification and verification of identity will be deleted from the relevant database immediately after a comparative study is made. Enquiries for biometric data can be made only through a relevant proceedings information system; however, once the ABIS database will be put in place, such data will no longer be retained in the proceedings information system but in the ABIS database.
During the debate, Martin Helme (Estonian Conservative People’s Party), Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa), Lauri Läänemets (Social Democratic Party), and Toomas Kivimägi (Reform Party) took the floor.
The Riigikogu passed two other Acts:
The Riigikogu passed the Act on Amendments to the Local Government Council Election Act (212 SE), initiated by the Constitutional Committee. 79 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of the Act and 9 were against.
The Act provides that the authority of a council member is suspended when they are employed on the basis of an employment contract in an administrative agency of the same rural municipality or city. Under the current Act, the authority of a council member is terminated before the end of the term upon their entry into an employment contract with a local government administrative agency. The proposed amendment does not concern officials.
The initiation of the amendment to the Act was motivated by an application of the Chancellor of Justice for the Supreme Court to adopt a position. The Supreme Court had found that the current restrictions for employees employed under an employment contract at local government administrative agencies excessively restricted their right to stand as candidates. Consequently, the committee decided to ease the restriction and support the suspension of the authority instead of terminating it.
During the debate, Paul Puustusmaa (Estonian Conservative People’s Party Party) and Heiki Hepner (Isamaa) took the floor.
The Riigikogu passed with 86 votes in favour the Act on Amendments to the Atmospheric Air Protection Act and the State Fees Act (345 SE), initiated by the Government. This will update references to the European Commission Regulations that implement the European Union system for greenhouse gas emission allowance trading.
The European Commission has established new Regulations implementing the European Union system for greenhouse gas emission allowance trading (EU ETS). The Regulations provide for the details of the operation of the EU ETS for the fourth trading period in the years 2021–2030. The European Union has also issued an implementing Regulation on the Modernisation Fund, which aims to contribute to the enhancement of investments supporting cost-effective emission reductions in less wealthy EU countries.
According to the Act, the aims and distribution of the use of the resources of the Modernisation Fund and the ministers responsible for the use of the resources will be set out in the state budget strategy, to direct the resources of the Modernisation Fund to sectors that are important to the state in order to achieve climate and energy policy objectives. The resources of the Modernisation Fund can be used to support the implementation of actions for renewable energy, energy efficiency, energy storage and the modernisation of energy networks, as well as a just transition to a low CO2 economy in regions that rely on a high CO2 economy, for example in Ida-Viru County. It is also possible to support the development of energy efficiency in transport, buildings, agriculture, and waste management.
Under the Effort Sharing Regulation, Estonia has a binding greenhouse gas emission reduction target for 2030 and trajectory for annual emissions reduction targets for the period 2021–2030 in the transport, agriculture, waste management, industrial processes, and small-scale energy generation sectors. The targets are trans-sectoral.
In order to ensure the achievement of targets, Member States are allowed to trade emission allowances created under the Regulation. As a precondition to enable this, the Bill sets out the principles of emissions trading in the sectors of the Effort Sharing Regulation and the conditions of and the procedure for the organisation of trading, sales and purchase contacts and the use of the funds received from trading, and the obligations of applicants.
During the debate, Peeter Ernits (Estonian Conservative People’s Party) and Jevgeni Ossinovski (Social Democratic Party) took the floor.
Due to the end of the working hours of today’s sitting, the items on the agenda that remained undiscussed were postponed to Wednesday’s sitting. The first item on the agenda will be an expression of no confidence in Prime Minister Kaja Kallas.
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.)