The Riigikogu reduced the minimum age limit for security guards
At today’s sitting, the Riigikogu passed four Acts. They will facilitate a transition to paperless court proceedings, regulate the taking of evidence and service of documents in cross-border civil and commercial matters, create a legal framework for the prudential assessment of foreign investments and reduce the minimum age limit for security guards and guards by a year.
The Riigikogu passed the Act on Amendments to the Code of Civil Procedure and the Code of Administrative Court Procedure (transition to paperless court proceedings) (723 SE), initiated by the Government. It gives legal effect to the digital court file in order to facilitate a transition to paperless court proceedings.
Currently, court case files in civil and administrative matters are maintained mostly on paper and in bound form. In all other court matters, courts have the obligation to register documents in the courts information system, while the Code of Civil Procedure provides for an obligation to maintain paper files. Thus, two files are maintained in parallel, and the paper file has legal effect. The maintenance of two files is however burdensome for courts.
Digital court proceedings have been implemented in part in courts since 2017. Of all proceedings registered in the courts information system, in 2019, around 27 per cent of civil and administrative matters were heard without paper file and, in 2020, around 38 per cent.
The amendments enter into force on 1 April. The current regulation will be applied to the maintenance of files in court cases commenced before that.
52 members of the Riigikogu supported the passing of the Act and 13 voted against.
The Riigikogu passed the Act on Amendments to the Code of Civil Procedure, the Vital Statistics Registration Act and Other Acts (731 SE), initiated by the Government. It makes in Estonian Acts the amendments necessary for the application of two European Union Regulations. They are new versions of the EU Regulations regulating the taking of evidence and service of documents in cross-border civil and commercial matters.
Among other things, the amendments provide that circuit courts of appeal and the Supreme Court will also be able to directly use the possibilities provided for in the Regulations, in addition to district courts. Notaries will be able to use the relevant Taking of Evidence Regulation when taking evidence.
In the future, it will also be possible to issue data from the population register to people simply by e-mail and regular mail. Under the current law, this is allowed to be done by e-mail only in encrypted form and in regular mail as a registered item. According to the amendments, the issuer of data will be able to decide for themselves how to issue data in a particular case. For example, where data only on place of residence are issued, sending by e-mail can be used but where special categories of data are issued, data will have to be sent in an encrypted form or as a registered item.
52 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of passing the Act and 14 were against.
The Riigikogu passed with 65 votes in favour the Prudential Assessment of Foreign Investments Act (639 SE), initiated by the Government. It creates a legal framework for the prudential assessment of foreign investments. The Act regulates under what conditions and pursuant to what procedure prudential assessment of third country foreign investors and undertakings under their control will be carried out in the case when a foreign investor wishes to participate in an economic sector essential for Estonia’s security or public order by making an investment in an undertaking operating in certain sectors.
The range of target undertakings where the impact on security and public order will be assessed in the case of foreign investments will include, for example, providers of vital services, undertakings with state participation, producers and suppliers of military and dual use goods, owners of national defence facilities, certain media undertakings and possessors of transport infrastructure.
According to the Act, the Consumer Protection and Technical Regulatory Authority will authorise foreign investments after having coordinated them beforehand with the foreign investment committee consisting of representatives of various ministries and other governmental authorities. A foreign investment will not be authorised if it endangers the security or public order of Estonia or another European Union Member State.
The Riigikogu also passed the Act on Amendments to the Security Act (629 SE), initiated by the Social Democratic Party Faction and Member of the Riigikogu Raimond Kaljulaid. It reduces the minimum age limit for security guards and guards by a year in order that 18-year-old people could assume employment in the security activities sector. Under the current Act, security guards must be at least 19 years of age. In the words of the initiators, the amendment will increase the opportunities for companies in the sector to recruit employees and will enable young people to start a career in a security firm earlier.
45 members of the Riigikogu supported the passing of the Act and one was against.
Two Bills passed the second reading
The Payment and Settlement Systems Bill (743 SE), initiated by the Government, passed the second reading. It is a new consolidated Act which prescribes the requirements for larger payment systems. The Bill will provide the definitions important to the payment market. It will also prescribe the rules for the settlement system and the rights and obligations of the system operator and participants in the system.
The Bill prescribes how payment orders will be executed in systemically important payment systems and securities settlement systems, including in the cases where a party becomes insolvent or goes bankrupt. The Bill will also provide for rules for cases where Estonian banks operate in the settlement systems of third countries.
The Security Activities Bill (638 SE), initiated by the Government, also passed the second reading. It will establish a new consolidated text of the Act. The aim of the Bill is to ensure better the quality and reliability of security activities and the protection of the fundamental rights of persons who come into contact with security activities, as well as to promote the cooperation between security firms, state agencies and local governments to create a safe living environment. The Bill will update the entire current security business regulation and eliminate the shortcomings that have occurred in practice, interpretation problems and unreasonable restrictions.
The Bill will create an umbrella term “security officer”, which will cover guards, security guards and security managers, who will need to hold relevant qualifications, as people without qualifications cannot be security officers. A security officer can be both a sole proprietor who is a security firm and an employee of a security firm.
It is also planned to establish a regulation for ship protection. The task of a maritime security guard will be to guard and protect the ship, the crew members onboard it and the property on board the ship against attacks from outside in a region of heightened risk. The Estonian state has set an objective that more cargo ships would sail under the Estonian flag and the existence of a legal regulation for the use of maritime security guards would increase the competitiveness of the Estonian shipping sector.
During the debate, Marek Jürgenson from the Centre Party Faction took the floor.
Two Bills passed the first reading
The Organisation of Research and Development and Innovation Bill (773 SE), initiated by the Government, passed the first reading. It will establish a new consolidated text of the regulation for the organisation of research and development and innovation, update the strategic management of the sector and specify the bases for the organisation of work of the councils advising the Government and ministers.
The Bill will also change the organisation of the funding of the research, development and innovation sector. Up to now, funds have been ensured for all research and development institutions in particular by baseline funding. The Bill will ensure funding by activity support which will be prescribed for universities in public law, national institutions of professional higher education within the area of administration of the Ministry of Education and Research, and research and development institutions in public law that have passed external evaluation. The support will be intended for the implementation of research and development activities.
In the case of research and development institutions established by the state, according to the Bill, the relevant ministry will have to ensure the necessary funding. Research and development institutions in private law will begin to receive support in national priority sectors, the conditions of which will be provided for by a Regulation of the Minister. The requirements for evaluation will remain the same. The Estonian Research Council Foundation will be assigned new tasks, for example in connection with the establishment of a research ethics committee.
During the debate, Mihhail Lotman from Faction Isamaa, Marko Šorin from the Centre Party Faction and Liina Kersna from the Reform Party Faction took the floor.
The Bill on Amendments to the Place Names Act and the Spatial Data Act (768 SE), initiated by the Government, also passed the first reading. It will give the minister in charge the right to change, on the basis of an opinion of the Place Names Board, place names which are incompatible with the history and culture of Estonia where the local government does not agree to do it.
According to the Bill, the Minister in charge of the policy sector will make a proposal to the local government to change a place name where the place name in use can clearly be associated with persons or events connected with activities against the foundation of the Republic of Estonia, permanence of its constitutional order or restoration of the independence of Estonia, or the place name is incompatible with the history and culture of Estonia. The minister can be a names authority instead of the local government in the case when the Place Names Board finds in an opinion submitted to the minister that for example a street, a road or a square has been named after a person who has been declared a war hero of the Soviet Union which occupied Estonia, or after an event that has damaged the Estonian statehood, which means that the current place name is in conflict with the Place Names Act.
If the local government fails to change a place name within two months as of the receipt of a proposal, the state will establish a new name to replace the incompatible place name in view of public interest. Before a new name will be established, the opinion of the local government will have to be asked. According to the Bill, the Land Board will make the changes to the information system of the Address Data System in connection with the establishment of new place names, and the costs for the acquisition and installation of signposts and signs will be reimbursed from the state budget. At present, approximately 15 place names need an expert analysis, and the changing of these names would involve a cost of up to 30,000 euro.
During the debate, Eduard Odinets from the Social Democratic Party Faction, Heiki Hepner from Faction Isamaa and Riho Breivel from the Estonian Conservative People’s Party Faction took the floor.
The sitting ended at 5.21 p.m.
Verbatim record of the sitting (in Estonian)
The video recording of the sitting will be available to watch later on the Riigikogu YouTube channel. (Please note that the recording will be uploaded with a delay.)
Riigikogu Press Service
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