Estonia: Freedom of economic activity regulated by law for the first time.
On 1 July 2014 the General Part of the Economic Activities Code Act („the Act”) entered into force in Estonia. Freedom of economic activity in Estonia – i.e. the freedom to start, operate and terminate economic activity in any area of activity at any time – is no longer only a constitutional right but is also regulated by law. The Act for the first time comprehensively governs the general conditions of and procedure for exercising freedom of economic activity, including (in addition to regulating the start, operation, termination and resumption of economic activity) technical details such as maintaining a register of economic activity and other forms of state supervision.
The Act will simplify and standardise procedures, which are often expensive and different for no good reason (e.g. applying for a building licence). As a „General Part” the Act lays down general principles for all areas of activity, many of which are additionally regulated through specific acts, e.g. the Alcohol Act, the Education Act, the Building Act, the Electrical Safety Act, the District Heating Act, the Natural Gas Act, the Medicinal Products Act, the Roads Act, the Water Act, and so on. Many examinations that were carried out yearly – e.g. as to registration of the economic activities of a company – are now removed or replaced by simple notification obligations.
Last but not least, under the new Act an undertaking can now file all notices and applications with an economic administrative authority not only in paper form but also through the Estonian information portal www.eesti.ee, which is in line with the targeted principle of developing a single central Estonian electronic platform for public authorities.
Source: State Gazette, RT I, 15.03.2014, 8
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