Social Democrats handed taxpayer funds to NGOs uncritical of government's work ability reform ({{commentsTotal}})

The Social Democrats have handed additional funding to NGOs in the field of disabilities from a controversial state fund, picking NGOs not taking part in protests against a recent government work ability reform.

The fund, which was exposed a year ago, allows MPs, including those in opposition, to hand out a combined 10 million euros annually at their discretion. MPs have maintained that the fund is legal, although some have diverted money to NGOs run by their own members, or for other projects with a hint of corruption.

Eesti Päevaleht reported Tuesday that nine NGOs dealing with disabled people were provided additional money from the fund, eight of those from the Social Democrats share of the fund.

The majority of NGOs which are representing people with special needs, protested against the reforms, but only one of the eight supported by the Social Democrats participated in the protests. The other seven failed to give clear answers to daily why they were chosen for the funding. Head of the Parliament's Finance Committee, Rannar Vassiljev (SDE), said he does not remember why the NGOs were chosen.

The daily said the government pointed to the fact that not all NGOs were against the reform, when pushing it through about a month ago.

The sums that the NGOs received ranged from 3,000-35,000 euros, although the largest beneficiary was the only NGO which criticized the government.

Editor: J.M. Laats, S. Tambur