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Estonia: The Bill amending the Place Names Act passed the second reading in the Riigikogu

NordenBladet — The Bill that passed the second reading will change the functions of the Place Names Board in the resolution of place name disputes.

Under the Bill on Amendments to the Place Names Act (186 SE), initiated by the Government, the Place Names Board will no longer resolve extra-judicial disputes over the establishment and use of place names, and the resolution of disputes will remain to the local authorities who make the decisions. The Place Names Board will advise local authorities and will give its weighted positions in name disputes where necessary. This way the name dispute process will be shorter and more effective and will take place on a correct basis and at the correct level.

The Bill will provide more clearly for the status of place name to preclude cases where a name is intended to give a named feature a legal status, that is, to change the regime of the rights and obligations of the named feature.

Amendments will also be made to the procedure for the establishment of the Place Names Board. In the future, the Minister of Public Administration will establish the statutes of the Place Names Board, and the number of the members of the Place Name Board will no longer be determined at the level of Act. At present, the Board may have 11-15 members.

The Bill will transfer the maintenance of the national place names register from the Ministry of Finance to the Land Board who is the authorised processor of the register at present. According to the Bill, the functions of the authorised processor of the register will be assigned to the information technology centre of the Ministry of the Environment. On the basis of that, in the future, the Minister of the Environment will also establish the statutes of the register.

During the second reading, an amendment was made to the Bill, according to which it will be prohibited to establish as commemorative names the names of the persons who have acted against the establishment of the Republic of Estonia, the maintenance of constitutional order or the restoration of Estonia’s independence. In the event of a conflict, the names authority will have to change the place name.

During the debate, Mihhail Stalnuhhin (Centre Party), Tarmo Kruusimäe (Isamaa), Viktor Vassiljev (Centre Party) and Aadu Must (Centre Party) took the floor.

 

 


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