Head of state signs seven acts into law

Source: President of Estonia

President Alar Karis has signed into law acts pertaining to the age limit for sexual self-determination, flight safety, unmanned aircraft, prohibition on entry to the Schengen Area and the hiring of public officials. The changes also affect investment funds, one-off support for pensioners and children, support for Ukrainian refugees arriving in Estonia and the VAT rate on newspapers.
In accordance with the Act Amending the Penal Code, the Family Law Act and the Code of Civil Procedure, the age limit of sexual self-determination is being raised from the current 14 years of age to 16 years of age. Consensual sexual relations are allowed between young people provided that the age gap between the adult and the 14- to 16-year old is no more than five years. The act also repeals the exceptional age of marriage for minors: in future, only adults will be permitted to marry.
The Act Amending the Aviation Act and the State Fees Act updates the national regulation of civil aviation in order to ensure flight safety, taking into account changes in European Union law, first and foremost a number of regulations. These changes are required in order to prepare for the opening up of the baggage- and ramp-handling market at Tallinn Airport. A chapter has also been added to the act which regulates the handling of the unmanned aircraft system.
The Act Amending the Obligation to Leave and Prohibition on Entry Act, the Police and Border Guard Act and the State Borders Act brings national law into line with regulations of the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union to boost the effectiveness of repatriation policy. This will enable Member States to better monitor the fulfilment of repatriation decisions and speed up the conducting of repatriation proceedings. If a citizen of a third country is subject to a prohibition on entry to the Schengen Area, this provides a basis for refusing them entry to the country, or for revoking their visa or residence permit and deporting them.
The main changes being introduced with the Act Amending the Civil Service Act and the Unemployment Insurance Act will simplify the regulation of competitions for agencies and officials. This will enable someone standing in for an official who is temporarily absent to continue in the position without having to go through a competition if the person they are standing in for does not return. It will also allow, in certain cases, for officials to be hired without competitions being held. Social guarantees for officials have also been extended with the act.
The Act Amending the Investment Funds Act and Other Related Acts will harmonise the rules on the cross-border offering of UCITS and venture capital and real estate funds for retail investors and amend the terms and conditions for the registration of the management companies of small funds. In the case of small funds, the value of their assets is less than 100 million euros and the Estonian Financial Supervision and Resolution Authority generally does not monitor them, but simply registers their operations. The changes to the law will enable pension funds to invest in securities whose underlying asset is (or the price of which is dependent on) a commodity. The amendments will also increase opportunities to invest in precious metals.
The Act on the Ratification of the Agreement between the Republic of Estonia and the Republic of Austria on the Termination of the Agreement on the Promotion and Protection of Investments ratifies the termination of said agreement between the two countries so as to guarantee the equal treatment of investors from all EU Members States, in line with EU legislation.
In accordance with the Act Amending the Family Benefits Act, the Social Welfare Act and Other Acts, a one-off payment of 50 euros will be made to children and pensioners in November. This is designed to make it easier for people to cope with the rapidly rising prices of the goods and services they require in order to meet their basic needs.
The amendment also enables home mortgage repayments to be taken into account for up to six months in a one-year period when awarding subsistence benefits. As such, families who have taken out a loan in order to buy a home will be able to be supported in the same way as families who rent.
The changes to the law will help to more effectively plan and organise the social services needed by Ukrainian refugees arriving in Estonia and the payment of benefits to them. Moreover, a pensioner living alone may take on Ukrainian refugees as tenants or subtenants without losing the benefit that is paid to them for living on their own. For 2022, local governments will be granted an exception in regard to the processing of subsistence benefits and the compensation of the cost of paying out the benefits whereby the costs they incur will be covered more quickly than usual.
In accordance with the Act Amending the Value-Added Tax Act, the current rate of VAT on press publications will be reduced from 9% to 5% in order to support the availability of independent, professional and high-quality Estonian journalism in the midst of information attacks and the information war being waged by Russia against liberal democracy. As per the current procedure, the reduced rate of VAT will apply to both physical and online publications.

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Russia cannot be part of the European security architecture, because it threatens it

Source: President of Estonia

“It is naive to say that Russia is part of the European security architecture. Russia, who has started a full-scale war of conquest against Ukraine, does not want to take responsibility for peace and stability in Europe. Instead, its goal is to undermine stability and security. This currently makes Russia a threat to the European security architecture,” said President Alar Karis after the lunch meeting organised for top politicians and opinion leaders by Washington Post during the World Economic Forum in Davos.
At the meeting, President Karis focused on Europe’s new security landscape, which brings Finland and Sweden to NATO and millions of war refugees to many countries.
Following the meeting, the Estonian head of state stressed the need to change the thinking in terms of foreign and security policy and recommended that the West should remain realistic about threats and be less timid in dealing with them: “Let us deter Russia, not ourselves.”
President Karis considers Russia as a long-term security challenge for Estonia and the Baltic region and therefore it is necessary to ensure the permanent presence of NATO allied forces on the eastern flank of the alliance. “Russia’s desire to undermine the role of NATO and the transatlantic security axis in maintaining the security of our region is evident from the war in Ukraine to everyone who wants to see it. Russian aggression leaves no choice for NATO – a stronger deterrence posture of the alliance in the Baltic States and Poland is essential and self-explanatory,” Estonian head of state reiterated.
In relation to helping Ukraine, President Karis considered it necessary to suspend Russia’s possibilities to earn gas or oil revenue.
During the World Economic Forum panel discussion focusing on the European Union’s neighbourhood, President Karis discussed the future of the European Neighbourhood Policy in the light of Russia’s aggression in Ukraine with Moldovan Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilița, Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili and Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg.
The discussion concluded that Europe must itself be an importer of security and wellbeing and integrate neighbouring countries instead of letting someone else do it. “Estonia has always been a strong supporter of expansion policy. We have been in the same situation as the countries that wish to join the European Union and know how important it is to have friends who support you during the complicated journey of reforms. We also need specific actions and more ambition on EU’s part,” said President Karis.
Prime ministers of Georgia and Moldova emphasised the strong wish of both nations to join the European Union.
Today, the president participated in a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister of Georgia Irakli Garibashvili, Minister of Economy and Planning of Saudi Arabia Faisal Al-Ibrahim and Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum Klaus Schwab.
During the Economic Forum, the head of state met with the representatives of major international companies, such as Google’s Jigsaw and Coursera, with whom he discussed their interest in and possibilities for cooperation with Estonia.

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Estonia helps Ukraine fulfil the European dream

Source: President of Estonia

“I am in Davos to speak up for Ukraine’s right to become a candidate country for EU membership. Expansion of the European Union is an investment in European security, for which there are no alternatives. In order to ensure peace and freedom in Europe, the capitals of the member states and EU institutions must change their strategic approach to Russia and be more ambitious in communicating with the neighbourhood of the European Union,” President Alar Karis emphasised when visiting Ukraine House Davos as part of the World Economic Forum. The head of state also met with the Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine and Minister of Digital Transformation Mykhailo Fedorov.
President Karis reiterated full support for and readiness to share Estonia’s experiences in applying for EU membership with Ukraine. “Estonia is Ukraine’s friend and always ready to support Ukrainians in order to help them fulfil the European dream,” said the head of state. “The speed of Ukraine’s accession to the European Union depends on the determination of Ukrainians, acceleration of reforms and willingness to truly change their country.”
According to the president, the war in Ukraine has taught us a lesson that leaving our neighbouring nations who wish to be part of the European family in uncertainty lays the ground for a conflict. “Our interest is promoting democracy and peace in Europe by integrating the European Union,” he said. “Expansion has been successful in fostering democracy, economic growth and wellbeing. We must continue this. Every country that wishes to be with or belong to the European Union must have the opportunity to do so.”
The president noted that Europe must not give room to Russian spheres of influence. “We must focus on the regions Russia wishes to dominate with military power or corruption and include them in the European space. We can do this by promoting the expansion of the European Union and NATO more boldly and using other EU cooperation formats,” he continued.
“The war in Ukraine has also taught us that investing in the resilience of our neighbours in Europe must be the principal objective of our neighbourhood policy.”
According to President Karis, the bravery of the Ukrainian people deserves nothing but admiration. “Your courage in fighting against terror and Russia’s brutal aggression and for the freedom of Ukraine and democracy is remarkable. In this battle, you have proven that your country functions well, the parliament and the government are working hard every day and the strong civil society helps those in need all over Ukraine,” said the head of state in his address to the guests of Ukraine House.
President Karis will take part in debates focusing on European security, the revitalisation of transatlantic cooperation and the future and global role of the EU held at the World Economic Forum taking place today and tomorrow in Davos. He also has several bilateral meetings with leaders of other countries and representatives of major international enterprises.

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MIL-OSI Poland News: Organizers and Participants of the 75th anniversary of the Emanuel Ringelblum Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw

Source: President of Poland in English

Organizers and Participants of the

75th anniversary of the Emanuel Ringelblum Jewish Historical Institute

in Warsaw

 

Ladies and Gentlemen!

I cordially greet all those present at the celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Emanuel Ringelblum Jewish Historical Institute. I extend special greetings to the numerous distinguished foreign guests who have come to the international scientific conference which will mark the anniversary.

On this occasion, I would like to congratulate you and express my utmost appreciation and gratitude to the management, employees, and associates of this institution. Your significance for Polish and world heritage, science and culture cannot be overestimated. Thank you for caring for monuments and documents of the past, for your research, educational and popularizing efforts. Thank you for being great custodians of memory, and the Institute being a treasury of knowledge about the social, political, and religious life of Polish Jews. Finally, thank you for your immensely important contribution to the contemporary revival of the Jewish community in our homeland.

It is with deep affection that I recall the meeting with you five years ago during the opening of the permanent exhibition „What we’ve been unable to shout out to the world”, presenting the activity of the underground group „Oneg Shabbat”. The collections and studies by the patron of the JHI and his associates, hidden and excavated literally from under the ground after the war, have become the foundation on which the idea and ethos of the Institute are based. The institution’s traditions go back even further – to pre–war times, when the Main Library and the Institute of Judaic Sciences operated in the building, then adjacent to the Great Synagogue on Tłomackie Street.

The temple – written in golden letters in the history of the joint struggle of Jews and Poles to preserve their identity and regain an independent state – was demolished by the Germans. The Holocaust brought deaths of almost all the Jewish inhabitants of the capital and the entire Republic of Poland. That genocide, unprecedented in the history of the world, will always arouse dread and terror. But the Nazis did not manage to destroy memory and truth. Thanks to heroes such as dr. Ringelblum, evidence of the crime survived and was used in post–war investigations and trials; it is also the subject of research conducted to this day. And the building has also survived – being a silent witness of the extermination of the ghetto there, the barbarism of the occupiers, the heroism of the dying and the epic of the survivors who avoided extermination in German death factories.

Once again, congratulating all the co–founders and friends of the Jewish Historical Institute on the anniversary, I sincerely wish that, through your service, this place would forever remain one of the main centers of tradition and memory, and contemporary Jews in Poland.
May the past – both the tragic from the war years and the more distant one, related to the centuries–long presence of Jews in Polin – continue arousing the interest and attention of young generations. It is the people, often discovering their roots here, who will create the future of the Jewish community in the Republic of Poland.

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MIL-OSI Poland News: President calls for staunch support of Ukraine

Source: President of Poland in English

President Andrzej Duda, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, made an appeal to the international community to stand firm by war–torn Ukraine.

Andrzej Duda, who on Tuesday took part in a discussion panel devoted to Russia’s war on Ukraine, said, also as the president of a country bordering Russia, that he could not agree to Russia having „violated international laws with impunity… and the world permitted it”.

He called for international support of Ukraine. „I appeal to everyone to stand firmly by Ukraine, because justice and honesty are on its side. I have no doubts about that,” Andrzej Duda said.

President added that „this war should end with Russia giving back the land it has plundered to Ukraine, paying a contribution, and the criminals being punished.

„I cannot agree to Russia murdering people in Ukraine, and the world pretending not to see it, lest there be consequences for the murderers, lest Russia pay war reparations for the losses it caused in Ukraine, and finance the rebuilding of Ukraine,” Andrzej Duda said. 

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President has said the he expects the creation of special fund for the rebuilding of Ukraine after the war. Answering journalists’ questions at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Andrzej Duda said: „We expect a special fund to emerge that will help Ukraine in reconstruction. That is an obvious matter. I would like many countries and institutions to engage in that.”

President added it was obvious „that rebuilding Ukraine should be based on reparations from Russia.”

„It is Russia that in an absolutely unjustified way, without any provocation from the Ukrainian side, invaded Ukraine, carrying out its imperialist ambitions, wanting to appropriate Ukraine, wanting to subjugate Ukraine, wanting to extend its influence onto Ukrainian territory,” Andrzej Duda said.

He went on to say that Ukrainians’ fight for their country showed they did not want to be under Moscow’s sphere of influence, but wanted to choose their allegiances for themselves, as was their „sacred right.”

„We know what it means to defend one’s homeland, that’s why we are helping them and will stand with them,” Andrzej Duda continued. „But reparations should primarily come from Russia. Today there is gigantic Russian money frozen in the world, estimated at more than USD 300 billion, above all it is from that money that the reconstruction of Ukraine should come.”

Andrzej Duda said those funds should be „mercilessly taken from Russia” and used to rebuild Ukraine.

He added that a fund needed to be created as Ukraine will need to rebuild as quickly as possible, replacing damaged infrastructure.

„The Ukrainian fight for the defence of their own motherland’s freedom needs to be supported and at the same time they need to be helped so they can rebuild their motherland, as quickly as possible so that people can get back to their homes,” Andrzej Duda said. (PAP)

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Current obstacles must be viewed as challenges

Source: President of Estonia

President Alar Karis welcomed the participants of Latitude59 international technology conference, noting that current obstacles must be viewed as challenges. “I know you see opportunities where others see risks,” said the head of state in his address to the representatives of the IT sector and start-ups.
“We should look for ways of using knowledge of digital technologies to solve the current acute crisis, how our technologies can enhance the defence of Europe, or optimise energy consumption and production,” President Karis outlined the tasks ahead. For instance, we should explore how to use technology to reduce our dependence on foreign commodities.
“Estonia is a small country, but the start-up sector is making us bigger. This is our opportunity and I believe we have done it well,” said President Karis. He added that due to the scarcity of talent, start-ups have the opportunity to involve people from all over the world. The head of state also expressed hope that there would always be a shortage of labour in the tech sector in a good sense, as the lack of highly educated professionals should motivate today’s graduates to study and develop themselves in order to become successful in their lives.
According to the Estonian president, the IT and start-up sector have contributed around a quarter of the economic progress of the last five years in Estonia, even though its share in the economy was just over 5% five years ago. President Karis noted that as the share of the digital sector grows, the average company and job are starting to look increasingly more like a job in the IT industry. The sector challenges cemented thinking, disrupts old business models and introduces innovation where it seems impossible.
The head of state also emphasised the wider socio-economic impact of the start-up sector. “The start-up mindset and digitalisation could benefit many fields of society,” noted President Karis. He observed that besides putting Estonia on the global map, the expansion of the tech sector has transformed Tallinn and many other Estonian cities in the previous ten years. “We have seen the development of former industrial areas into nice neighbourhoods, we see people from all around the world living and working here,” said President Karis. “High-tech companies that attract professionals have made Estonia more open and increased the value of education in the business economy.”
Looking back on the pandemic period, the head of state remarked that the digital economy is rearranging many fields. President Karis also noted that the choices of the education system were expanded and remote work became a standard in many companies after digital solutions had proven to be reliable and convenient during the Covid period.

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MIL OSI Poland – 19.05.2022Pricing of EUR bond – additional information

Source: Republic of Poland in English

Pricing of EUR bond – additional information19.05.2022

With reference to the press release on the pricing of 10-year EUR denominated benchmark bond maturing on May 25, 2032, which was conducted on May 18, 2022, the Ministry of Finance presents additional information concerning the structure of investors.
The structure of buyers was well diversified. The bonds were allocated to investors from: Germany and Austria (35%), United Kingdom and Ireland (19%), Poland (14%), Switzerland (6%), Benelux (6%), Italy (6%), Nordics (5%), France (4%) and others (5%).
In terms of investor type the buyers group included: asset managers (44%), banks (25%), insurance and pension companies (15%) central banks and public institutions (14%), as well as other entities (2%).

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MIL OSI Poland – 18.05.2022Pricing of EUR bond

Source: Republic of Poland in English

Pricing of EUR bond18.05.2022

The Ministry of Finance priced on May 18, 2022 a 10-year EUR denominated benchmark bond maturing on May 25, 2032. The nominal amount of the issue was EUR 2bn. The orderbook exceeded EUR 4bn.
The bond was priced at the level of 110 basis points over mid-swap rate, yielding 2.85% with annual coupon of 2.75%.
The issue was executed under Republic of Poland’s Euro Medium Term Note (EMTN) Programme. The lead managers on the transaction were: Santander, Citi, Commerzbank, ING, JP Morgan and PKO BP.

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Only passivity and fear in the West can help Russia to win the war in Ukraine

Source: President of Estonia

“Only passivity and fear can help Russia to win this war. Both passivity and fear inside Russia, and in the West. People in European countries understand the situation well, and are ready to support Ukraine. This now needs to be matched by the bravery of decision-makers. The Ukrainian people are setting a powerful example: freedom is not free,” President Alar Karis stressed in his speech at the official dinner of the international Lennart Meri Security Conference.
President Karis emphasised the need to overcome the fear of provoking Russia with our actions. “Indeed, it is the contrary – firm action is the only brand of deterrence that will work. I would argue that we still haven’t fully come to grips with what Russian invasion means for the European security order. The previous strategies of forging economic ties, trade relationships hasn’t worked. Containment hasn’t worked. It is time for something bolder,” said President Karis. President Karis also highlighted the need to significantly bolster NATO’s deterrence posture on the eastern flank of the alliance.
“I am heartened by the five sanctions packages by the EU, but we must get to banning Russian oil. Estonia has sent military equipment in the sum that amounts to one third of our yearly defence budget. And just last week the government approved another round of howitzers and ammunition to be sent. I invite all my NATO and EU friends to try to beat us,” said President Karis.
The Estonian head of state noted that President Putin has been successful in deterring the West for too long and it is time to turn the tables. “Mr Putin’s expansionist dream to create the great Novorossiya cannot prevail,” said President Karis. How long can we keep asking: who’s next? We must put an end to this,” he added.
President’s speech (in English)
Photos (Raigo Pajula)
 

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