Today the Riigikogu passed an Act regulating the provision of psychiatric care to minors and persons with restricted active legal capacity.
The Act on Amendments to § 3 of the Mental Health Act (115 SE), initiated by the Social Democratic Party Faction, amends the provision of the Mental Health Act that regulates the provision of psychiatric care to minors and persons with restricted active legal capacity. According to the amendments, minors who are capable of judgement will obtain the right to receive psychiatric care with their consent, which until now has been impossible without parental consent. The explanatory memorandum notes that early and timely medical intervention contributes to efficient and effective treatment, which in turn helps reduce mental health problems in young people.
The Act specifies the right of people with restricted active legal capacity to receive psychiatric care similarly to other health care services. Under the Act, the legal representative of the person with restricted active legal capacity or an adult person with active legal capacity whom the person trusts can also be involved and he or she can assist and offer support based on the interests of the person with restricted active legal capacity.
During the debate, Kert Kingo (Estonian Conservative People’s Party), Maria Jufereva-Skuratovski (Centre Party), Helmen Kütt (Social Democratic Party), Õnne Pillak (Reform Party) and Priit Sibul (Isamaa) took the floor.
74 members of the Riigikogu were in favour of passing the Act and 19 voted against.
The Riigikogu passed three other Acts
Under the Act on Amendments to the Income Tax Act, the Value-Added Tax Act and the Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Prevention Act (293 SE), initiated by the Government, current measures in place against aggressive tax planning will apply with regard to the jurisdictions included in the European Union list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes instead of the current nationally established list of low tax rate territories. At the same time, similarly to Estonian residents, it will be possible for resident natural persons of Contracting Parties to the EEA Agreement to calculate their basic exemption on an ongoing basis instead of the current year-based calculation. Issues relating to the mission expenses at European Union offices and institutions are also specified.
91 members of the Riigikogu were in favour of passing the Act.
The Act on Amendments to the Traffic Act and Amendments to Other Associated Act (299 SE), initiated by the Government, creates a legal basis for checking the special systems of motor vehicles and their trailers. Considering the rapid technological development and the potential need to respond flexibly to the implementation of new technologies, the Act establishes a general framework for checking special systems and for the bodies engaged in the checking. In particular, at present this concerns fuel tanks of the vehicles running on natural gas. The aim of the innovation is to ensure the safety of vehicles using compressed natural gas and liquefied natural gas as fuel.
The Act specifies among other things the definition of truck. It is noted that truck is a vehicle designed to carry load, tow vehicles or carry out specific tasks. The amendment is due to the interpretation problems that have arisen in practice where disputes have arisen as to whether trucks that are the object of road toll also include special purpose trucks or not.
The Act extends the opportunity to assign the traffic control duties to a person with relevant competence who has been recognised as a volunteer rescuer by the Rescue Board within the meaning of the Rescue Act. This will not oblige rescue service workers, volunteer rescuers and assistant police officers to undergo any additional traffic controller training once the Act enters into force. At the same time it is provided that, where the blue flashing light or a blue signal light of an emergency vehicle is switched on, whether with or without a siren, police officers, assistant police officers, rescue service workers and volunteer rescuers who are passengers in the vehicle are exempt from the requirement to wear a seat belt when the vehicle is in motion. The regulation of the admission to emergency vehicle driver training is also specified, and an exemption is provided under which an emergency vehicle with a trailer exceeding the maximum authorised mass of O1 light trailer but not exceeding the maximum authorised mass of O2 trailer is regarded as a category C vehicle.
The Act also concerns a proposal for a European Union Regulation laying down pan-European derogations in view of the COVID‐19 outbreak concerning the renewal or extension of certain certificates, licences and authorisations and the postponement of certain periodic checks and periodic training. Opting out of the use of the derogations presumes sending a notice to the European Commission as well as a relevant national decision of the Member State. According to the Act, the minister responsible for the field is authorised to make a decision to opt out of the derogations by a Regulation. It is also allowed to apply such a Regulation of the minister retroactively as of the date when the EU Regulation comes into force.
91 members of the Riigikogu were in favour of passing the Act.
According to the Act on Accession to the 2010 Protocol to the International Convention on Liability and Compensation for Damage in Connection with the Carriage of Hazardous and Noxious Substances by Sea, 1996 (HNS Convention) (302 SE), initiated by the Government, the convention and the protocol establish an international system for compensation for marine pollution damages in connection with the carriage of hazardous and noxious substances by sea. Estonia is planning to accede to it. The convention has not yet entered into force internationally and accession to the Protocol simultaneously means accession to the Convention.
The Convention obliges the registered owner of a ship registered in a State Party to maintain sufficient insurance or other financial security to cover possible pollution damage caused by hazardous and noxious substances according to the limits in place.
The convention also establishes a fund (HNS Fund) with the aim of providing compensation for the damage exceeding the limits of the insurance of the registered owner of a ship carrying hazardous and noxious substances. The resources for the compensation for damage are made up of the contributions to the HNS Fund. Companies receiving by sea the hazardous and noxious substances covered by the convention additionally have a reporting obligation and make contributions to the Fund on the basis of a relevant decision of the Assembly of the Fund and an invoice issued by the Fund. Contributions to the HNS Fund are made by persons who were the receivers of contributing goods in the State in the preceding calendar year. The HNS Convention obliges the owner of a ship to hold insurance or other financial security and a certificate certifying it.
88 members of the Riigikogu were in favour of passing the Act.
The Riigikogu passed two Resolutions
The Resolution of the Riigikogu “Removal of Members and Appointment of New Members of the Supervisory Board of the Foundation Environmental Investment Centre” (342 OE), submitted by the Environment Committee, provides for the removal of members of the Riigikogu Merry Aart and Priit Sibul from the Board and for the appointment of members of the Riigikogu Annely Akkermann and Martin Repinski as members of the Board.
57 members of the Riigikogu were in favour of passing the Resolution and 30 voted against.
With the Resolution of the Riigikogu “Removal of a Member and Appointment of a New Member of the Supervisory Board of the State Forest Management Centre” (343 OE), submitted by the Environment Committee, member of the Riigikogu Andres Metsoja is removed from the Board and member of the Riigikogu Yoko Alender is appointed member of the Board.
During the debate, Tarmo Kruusimäe (Isamaa), Peeter Ernits (Estonian Conservative People’s Party) and Lauri Läänemets (Social Democratic Party) took the floor.
53 members of the Riigikogu were in favour of passing the Resolution and 39 voted against.
Three Bills passed the first reading
Under the Bill on the Ratification of the Protocol Amending the Agreement on Social Insurance Provisions between the Republic of Estonia and the Republic of Moldova (318 SE), initiated by the Government, the Protocol will update the social insurance provisions between the two countries considering in particular the work ability reform that has been carried out in Estonia because pension for incapacity for work is no longer granted. The Protocol also takes into account the requirements arising from the EU General Data Protection Regulation and on the proposal of the other contracting Party amendments will be made in view of the Moldovan pension system. For example, invalidity pensions have been replaced by pensions for disability there.
The aim of the social insurance provisions is to ensure people pension insurance when they move from one country to the other or when people residing in the contracting party states have worked and acquired pension rights in the respective territories of the states. Under the social insurance provisions, either of the contracting parties awards and pays pension only for its respective insurance periods and regardless of whether the person resides in the territory of one or the other country.
The explanatory memorandum notes that, under the social insurance provisions between Estonia and Moldova, in 2020, Estonian old-age pension was paid to nine pensioners residing in Moldova and, at the same time, Moldova paid old-age pension to ten pensioners residing in Estonia.
The amendments to be made under the Bill on Amendments to the Customs Act (311 SE), initiated by the Government, lay down national implementing provisions for smoother transposition of European Union law in two areas. They are the customs clearance rules for postal packages and courier shipments of negligible value ordered from non-Union countries, in particular from online stores, and the control rules for the import and export of cash.
On 1 July 2021, all EU Member States will start to tax consignments of negligible value in the same manner and the exemption from VAT of consignments with a value of up to 22 euro will be eliminated. The taxation of such consignments may bring about a multiplication of the amount of customs declarations submitted. With a view to ensuring rapid movement of consignments to customers and preventing the need for large-scale storage of consignments by businesses engaged in the transport of postal packages and courier shipments, which would inevitably involve additional costs for the customer, the possibility for persons to lodge customs declarations already before the consignments arrive in Estonia will be created.
Concerning cash control, the provisions regulating the procedure for the declaration of cash of a value of EUR 10 000 or more entering or leaving Estonia will be omitted from the current Customs Act. In summer 2021, a new EU Regulation on controls on cash will come into force that sets out a requirement to declare in writing at EU level, thus the relevant national provisions cannot remain simultaneously in force. In addition, the right of the customs to detain cash will be extended to three working days compared to the current provision, which is 48 hours. Union law gives Member States the possibility to provide for a period of detention of up to 30 days.
The initiation of the Bill on Amendments to the Auditors Activities Act and the Accounting Act (313 SE), initiated by the Government, was motivated by the assessment of the European Commission that Estonia had not correctly transposed the provisions pertaining to the annual financial statements, consolidated financial statements and related reports of certain types of undertakings in the relevant directive of the European Parliament and of the Council.
The Bill will specify the obligations of auditors for auditing medium-sized undertakings, large undertakings and public-interest entities. In the future, auditors will be required to state in the audit report whether the management report is consistent with the financial statements and the applicable legal requirements. The purpose of the amendment is to strengthen investors and other interested persons’ confidence in the information published in the management reports of undertakings. In addition, the Bill specifies the requirements regarding the information that large undertakings that are public-interest entities with more than 500 employees will have to reflect in their management reports. Analogous amendments will also be made as regards consolidated accounts. The aim of the amendments is to better identify sustainability risks and to increase investors and consumers’ confidence. As a result of the Bill, the audit fees of medium-sized and large undertakings will rise slightly and the volume of the reporting obligation of some large undertakings will increase slightly.
The Riigikogu rejected a draft Resolution at the first reading
The Draft Resolution of the Riigikogu “Formation of the Riigikogu Committee of Investigation to Investigate the Expediency and Effectiveness of the Support Measures Put in Place to Mitigate the Impact of the Crisis related to the Spread of the Coronavirus that Causes the COVID-19 Disease, and of the Emergency Situation arising therefrom, and Possible Corruption in the Implementation of the Measures” (319 OE), submitted by the Social Democratic Party Faction and Raimond Kaljulaid, provided for the formation of a committee of investigation that would have involved representatives of all political parties represented in the Riigikogu. They had set an aim to ascertain the expediency and effectiveness of the support measures implemented, the range of persons who had influenced the process of making the decisions on granting support or implementing financial instruments, and their influence on the formation of the decisions. They also wished to ascertain if the recipients of support and the people associated with them had provided donations or other benefits to political parties, members of the governing bodies of political parties or the people associated with them.
During the debate, Peeter Ernits (Estonian Conservative People’s Party), Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa), Raimond Kaljulaid (on behalf of the Social Democratic Party) and Jürgen Ligi (Reform Party) took the floor.
53 members of the Riigikogu voted for the rejection of the draft Resolution at the first reading, and 39 voted against.
The sitting ended at 6.16 p.m.
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.)
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