The Estonian Riigikogu approved on Sept. 30 amendments to the law of Obligations Act and other laws that aim to implement the new consumer credit directive in Estonian legislation, reports Eesti Paevaleht Online. The amendments that accompany implementing the directive are mainly focused on raising the level of consumer protection in the consumer credit sphere. The amount of information that credit issuers are obliged to give consumers before any contracts are concluded increases considerably, and credit issuers are obliged to counsel consumers before they take a loan so that the consumer could evaluate whether the consumer credit contract offered to him is adjusted to correspond to his needs and financial situation. The credit issuer is clearly required to evaluate the credit repayment ability of the consumer before the credit agreement is concluded. Rules on advertising consumer credit contracts were also changed. The law will come into force on July 1 next year, while the first provision of the first paragraph comes into force on Feb. 23, 2011.
The registered unemployment rate in Estonia fell by just 0.1 percentage points last week, and the decrease in the rate of the number of jobless also fell slightly, reports Postimees Online. The number of registered jobless in Estonia fell to 70,268 people by the morning of Oct. 1, which means that registered joblessness is 10.8 percent. 1,568 new jobless were registered from September 24 - 30. In a week, the number of registered jobless fell by 322 people. In the previous week, the drop was by 359 people, and the week before it was 561. The registered joblessness was highest, at 16.7 percent, in Ida-Virumaa and lowest, at 6.2 percent, in Jogevamaa. The real unemployment rate that also includes unregistered jobless was, according to the Statistical Office, 18.6 percent in the second quarter.
The national government amended an information technology project to include investment for electronic signatures and mobile voting, reports LETA. The initiative is part of a 6 million euro investment plan for 2010 to 2011. The project is supported by the European Regional Development Fund. Since 2007, a mobile identification application has been used in Estonia for all the same services, such as passports - except for voting. Until now, an ID card reader was necessary for that, but next year citizens can vote in national elections on their computer or a cell phone with Internet access, using an electronic signature, said the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communication. The electronic signatures will be assigned by the Police and Border Guard Board through an automated online application process.
President Toomas Hendrik Ilves on Oct. 5 started a working visit to Afghanistan and had a meeting in Kabul with Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai, reports Postimees Online. “Only the Afghan government can decide what is important in building up Afghanistan as a state and what help and from who you wish; international contributors are supporting partners to you here,” Ilves said at the meeting with Karzai. Ilves said that Estonia would like to be an ally to Afghanistan in a wider sense than the military sphere. He is the first Estonian president to visit Afghanistan.