The Bill which aims to provide additional measures to more effectively prevent corruption risks and to avoid conflicts of interest mainly in local authorities, initiated by the Constitutional Committee, passed the second reading in the Riigikogu today. The Bill is also intended to specify the regulations that have raised questions in the application of the Local Government Organisation Act.
Under the Bill on Amendments to the Local Government Organisation Act and Amendments to Other Associated Acts (574 SE), initiated by the Constitutional Committee, the state or local government authorities will be responsible for ensuring that persons who perform public duties on their behalf do not have criminal records for crimes of corruption. The Bill will establish a restriction under which a member of the audit committee of a municipal council cannot be the manager or a member of the management board of a company, foundation or non-profit association under the dominant influence of the same rural municipality or city, or the head or deputy head of an authority administered by an administrative agency of the same rural municipality or city.
The Bill will give the prosecutor’s office the right to collect from the suspect, the accused or the defendant the patrimonial damage to the state, local authorities and other public authorities, caused by a criminal offence.
The Bill is based on the address by the Chancellor of Justice in which she drew the attention of the Constitutional Committee to the fact that the existing Acts may not be sufficient for effective curbing of corruption at the local authority level.
Hanno Pevkur from the Reform Party Faction and Jüri Adams from the Free Party Faction took the floor during the debate.
One Bill passed the first reading in the Riigikogu:
The Bill on Amendments to the Ports Act (780 SE), initiated by the Government, will implement the EU Regulation establishing a framework for the provision of port services and common rules on the financial transparency of ports in ports of the trans-European transport network, or TEN-T. The Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council enters into force on 24 March 2019.
Based on the Regulation, the requirements for managing bodies of the ports for consultation of port users and stakeholders will be included in the Ports Act. Consultations will be held once a year, and minutes will have to be taken of the process of the consultations. The Bill designates the Competition Authority to resolve complaints arising from violation of the Regulation. It establishes the procedure for handling complaints, and the possibility of imposing a penalty payment if a port fails to comply with a precept in the event of a violation.
In Estonia, ten ports belong to the trans-European TEN-T network: Tallinn Old City Harbour, Paldiski South Harbour, and the ports of Muuga, Paljassaare, Rohuküla, Heltermaa, Kuivastu, Virtsu, Pärnu and Sillamäe.
The Riigikogu did not pass a Resolution:
The purpose of the Draft Resolution of the Riigikogu “Making a Proposal to the Government of the Republic for More Efficient and Regionally Balanced Use of European Aid” (761 OE), submitted by the Estonian Free Party Faction, was to make a proposal to the Government to apply for a derogation from the European Union for dividing Estonia into two separate regions based on Eurostat’s classification of territorial units, and to change Estonia’s starting points for the negotiations on the European Union budget period 2021–2027. The justification for the proposal was that it would have enabled to use European aid more efficiently, and to reduce the socio-economic differences between the region of Tallinn and the rest of Estonia.
During the debate, Andres Herkel from the Free Party Faction, Inara Luigas from the Social Democratic Party Faction and Mihhail Stalnuhhin from the Centre Party Faction took the floor.
At least 51 votes in favour were needed for the Resolution to be passed. 12 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of the Resolution, two were against, and there were two abstentions. Thus the Resolution was not passed.
Verbatim record of the sitting (in Estonian) http://stenogrammid.riigikogu.ee/en/201901151000.
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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