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Riigikogu

The Riigikogu passed 64 legal acts during the spring session.

The Riigikogu concluded the second reading of two Bills today

The Bill on Amendments to the General Part of the Environmental Code Act and Other Acts (repeal of the Environmental Register Act) (292 SE), initiated by the Government, will update the procedure for handling environmental information in state databases. To replace the environmental register, an environmental portal to consolidate environmental data will be established. It will display the environmental information stored in various databases. The Estonian Nature Information System (EELIS) and the register of mineral resources that have so far been functioning as subordinate information systems of the environmental register will be established as independent databases.

A new webpage consolidating environmental data – environmental portal – will be established. This will enable central access in the online environment to the environmental information stored in state databases and will provide a causally and spatially interconnected overview of the state of the environment. Ensuring access to various databases through a single webpage will not mean the establishment of an independent database, but an information technology solution that will facilitate the use of data. The environmental portal will be the one and only gateway to all the public data in this area of government.

The purpose of EELIS as an independent database will be to systematically collect and ensure public accessibility to the data on spatial objects related to the environment. The data in EELIS will be disclosed in the environmental portal. Since the existing solution for EELIS has become technologically outdated, the development of a new EELIS has also been started alongside with the Act.

The explanatory memorandum notes that the process of organising the databases containing environmental information has been going on for a long time. Among other things, the environmental monitoring database KESE, the environmental permits information system KOTKAS, and the research and recreational fishing database TEHA containing fisheries’ permits and data have been established. Since the current environmental register will be replaced by a webpage and yet the great majority of the current lists/data of the environmental register are and will continue to be collected in EELIS, a legal basis will be given to EELIS as well as the register of mineral resources that have so far been operating as subordinate information systems of the register. The subordinate information systems of the environmental register are the original sources of the data collected in the environmental register, that is, databases under the Public Information Act.

The Bill will first and foremost affect the organisation of work in state authorities and public access to environmental information. The Bill does not plan fundamental changes to the current law. It updates the procedure for handling environmental information in state data bases and repeals the Environmental Register Act for the benefit of legal clarity and better administration.

Amendments were also introduced in the Bill during the second reading; among other things, the Forest Act will be complemented with provisions on national level Statistical Methods in Imaging (SMI) for forests. This amendment provides the concept and main objective of SMI, publishing SMI data and the related specifications, the authority organising SMIs, and use of SMI data on the basis of data usage contract.

During the debate, Ruuben Kaalep, Merry Aart, Peeter Ernits, Anti Poolamets, Kalle Grünthal, Rene Kokk, Mart Helme (all from the Estonian Conservative People’s Party), Tarmo Kruusimäe, Heiki Hepner (Isamaa), and Jevgeni Ossinovski (Social Democratic Party) took the floor.

The Estonian Conservative People’s Party Faction and the Social Democratic Party Faction moved to suspend the second reading of the Bill. The result of voting: 11 votes in favour and 57 against. The motion was not supported. The second reading of the Bill was concluded.

The Bill on the Prevention of Unfair Trading Practices in the Agricultural and Food Supply Chain (377 SE), initiated by the Government, will provide as unfair trading practices transactions and activities that are connected to payment periods, supply, and sale conditions, and that are prohibited between buyers and sellers in the agricultural products and food supply chain.

Sixteen unfair trading practices have been listed, nine of which are prohibited in any case. For example, the buyer must not unilaterally change the terms of a supply agreement, cancel orders at such short notice that a supplier cannot reasonably be expected to find an alternative means of commercialising or using the products, threaten to carry out acts of commercial retaliation against the supplier, etc.

The remaining seven unfair trading practices are prohibited unless they have been previously agreed in clear and unambiguous terms. For example, if the supply contract includes no written agreement on covering the cost of discount of an agricultural product or food, demanding compensation for such costs from the seller is considered an unfair trade practice. Such transactions do not give rise to any legal consequences and are void from their inception.

Supervision over trade practices will fall in the remit of the Competition Authority. The Competition Authority will also have to publish a relevant report and, by 15 March every year, submit to the European Commission an overview on the application of the requirements of the Act and on the ensurance of compliance therewith. Liability will also be provided for infringement of the prohibition on unfair trading practices. A punishment of up to 1,200 fine units or detention will be provided for natural persons, and a fine of up to EUR 400,000 for legal persons.

The aim of the Bill is to protect suppliers of agricultural and food products against unfair trading practices by buyers. The Bill will transpose the Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on unfair trading practices in business-to-business relationships in the agricultural and food supply chain.

During the debate, Tarmo Kruusimäe (Isamaa), Merry Aart (Estonian Conservative People’s Part), Heiki Epner (Isamaa), Aivar Kokk (Isamaa), Imre Sooäär (Centre Party), Tarmo Tamm (Centre Party), Sven Sester (Isamaa), Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa), Ivari Padar (Social Democratic Party), Riho Breivel (Estonian Conservative People’s Party), and Peeter Ernits (Estonian Conservative People’s Party) took the floor.

The Estonian Conservative People’s Party moved to suspend the second reading of the Bill. The result of voting: no MP supported suspension, 63 were against and one abstained. The motion was not supported. The second reading of the Bill was concluded.

The Riigikogu concluded the first reading of a Bill

The Bill on Amendments to the Income Tax Act (293 SE), initiated by the Government, will eliminate tax exemption of housing loan interests. Consequently, interests can no longer be deduced from taxable income beginning with declarations on 2022 submitted in 2023.

During the debate, Aivar Kokk (Isamaa), Lauri Läänemets (Social Democratic Party), and Jürgen Ligi (Reform Party) took the floor.

The Isamaa Faction and the Social Democratic Party Faction moved to reject the Bill at the first reading. The result of voting: 20 votes in favour and 42 against. The motion was not supported. The first reading was concluded.

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
Gunnar Paal, +372 631 6351, +372 5190 2837
gunnar.paal@riigikogu.ee
Questions: press@riigikogu.ee

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