At today’s sitting of the Riigikogu, the Bill on Estonia’s membership of the European Space Agency that would allow a larger amount to be allocated to projects targeted at Estonia passed the first reading.
The Bill on the Ratification of the Rider Modifying the Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Estonia and the European Space Agency concerning the Accession of Estonia to the Convention for the Establishment of a European Space Agency and Related Terms and Conditions (49 SE), initiated by the Government, will provide for acceptance of the rider modifying the accession agreement in order to extend the integration period of Estonia’s membership of the European Space Agency (ESA) and to enable ESA to allocate a larger amount to projects targeted to Estonia.
Estonia became a full member of ESA on 1 September 2015. Under the Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Estonia and the European Space Agency concerning the Accession of Estonia to the Convention for the Establishment of a European Space Agency and Related Terms and Conditions, Estonia as a new member of ESA is entitled to six years of new member state status, and to participation in the Industry Incentive Scheme, targeted only at Estonia, in the amount of 500,000 euro a year. In 2018, the ESA reached the conclusion that the new member state status should last for nine years instead of six, and the minimum amount of a targeted allocation should be 750,000 euro a year in ESA’s opinion. The amount of this allocation has been determined in the ESA’s measure for new member states, which means that it will not affect Estonia’s contribution to the ESA or involve additional obligations. For the next six years, Estonia will enjoy better conditions than those initially agreed.
Two other Bills passed the first reading in the Riigikogu today:
The Bill on Amendments to the General Part of the Environmental Code Act and Other Acts (55 SE), initiated by the Government, will optimise the processes for environmental decisions and reduce the administrative burden in environmental law through consolidation and coordination of the proceedings for permits. The Bill is part of the codification of environmental law that was begun with the General Part of the Environmental Code Act. The requirements for the proceedings relating to environmental permits in the Acts of the special part of the Environmental Code will be systematised, controversies will be solved, and a basis for issuing a single environmental permit will be established. The Bill will eliminate parallel proceedings for environmental permits, reduce bureaucracy, and enable obligations arising from legislation to be fulfilled more conveniently and effectively.
The Bill on Amendments to the Consular Act and Amendments to Other Associated Acts (44 SE), initiated by the Government.
The amendments are intended to determine the list of consular acts in the event of which a consular secretary can also provide consular services. As the concept “consular secretary” is not in the current law at present, the concept is provided for in the Bill. Under the Bill, consular secretary is a member of staff working in a non-diplomatic post who can provide consular services, under the proposed amendments. The Bill also points out that the services will be provided under the supervision of a consular officer.
The amendments will not automatically involve the right of all consular secretaries to provide the services listed in the Bill, but the Bill will create the legal basis for such a possibility. The right to provide the services will be decided separately for each particular member of staff. Along with that, members of staff will be granted relevant access to the register of professional acts of a consular officer for registration of acts. Relevant training is a prerequisite for the right to provide the services and access to the register, among other things, with the aim of ensuring compliant and correct identification of persons.
Two Bills were dropped from the proceedings of the Riigikogu:
The Bill on Amendments to the Citizenship Act (37 SE), initiated by the Reform Party Faction, was intended to allow multiple citizenship for Estonian citizens who have acquired Estonian citizenship by birth. The Bill also provided for the possibility of resumption of Estonian citizenship for persons who had acquired Estonian citizenship before 26 February 1992 but who had been forced to renounce it or were deemed to have ceased to be Estonian citizens.
During the debate, Henn Põlluaas (Estonian Conservative People’s Party), Jürgen Ligi (Reform Party) and Oudekki Loone (Centre Party) took the floor.
The Constitutional Committee moved to reject the Bill at the first reading. 52 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of the motion and 30 were against, and thus the Bill was dropped from the legislative proceedings.
The Bill on Amendments to the Basic Schools and Upper Secondary Schools Act and the Private Schools Act (39 SE), initiated by the Estonian Reform Party Faction, was intended to create the possibility for central evaluation of heads of school in terms of their work and development. With the implementation of the Bill, heads of school would have been given feedback with a view to supporting the professional development of heads of school. According to the explanatory memorandum, the amendments would have enabled to coach heads of school and, where necessary, to suspend them from the duties of head of school, if significant deficiencies were found in their work.
During the debate, Jürgen Ligi (Reform Party) and Siim Pohlak (Estonian Conservative People’s Party) took the floor.
The Estonian Conservative People’s Party Faction moved to reject the Bill at the first reading. 46 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of the motion and 32 were against, and thus the Bill was dropped from the legislative proceedings.
The sitting of the Riigikogu ended at 5.56 p.m.
Video recordings of the sittings of the Riigikogu can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/riigikogu
(NB! The recording will be uploaded with a delay.)
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