Ministries facing layoffs ({{commentsTotal}})

Government ministries are preparing to open debate on cutting staff numbers. The coalition agreed to cut public sector numbers as the nation's population continues to decline, meaning 750 cuts each year.

The Ministry of Social Affairs will have to cut the most, 235 jobs being slashed in its field. Education (175), defense (57) and culture (55) are also high on the list.

Interior and economy ministries will have to make around 50 cuts each, with finance (28), environment (25), justice (20) and foreign (11) ministries facing fewer cuts.

Public Administration Minister Arto Aas said the figures were arrived at after an analysis. He said bigger cuts will made in areas where departments have grown the most in recent years.

“If until now, cuts have been made linearly, with equal cuts for everyone, then for the first time this time, we approached the topic with more depth, looking at what had already been done in the departments,” he said.

He said the interior ministry has faced many cuts in recent years, but fewer this time. Interior Minister Hanno Pevkur said the cuts will not affect Police and Border Guard staff.

New Health and Labor Minister Jevgeni Ossinovski, who will have one of the hardest tasks, said the 235 people will include hospital support staff and social insurance funds, adding that doctors and nurses are safe.

Besides ministries, other state institutions, such as county governments, Government Office, Chancellery of Parliament among others, will face cuts.

Aas said a total of 750 people will be let go this year, with a similar number each year until 2019.

The size of the entire public sector in Estonia is 137,000 people (down 1,000 in the past year). The number of people working for the government grew by around the same number, from 55,000 to 56,000.

Editor: J.M. Laats

Opinion digest: Our plans do not have to bend to distorted Russophobia

In a recent opinion piece in Postimees, small business-owner and Reform Party member Vootele Päi responded to criticism sparked by Prime Minister Jüri Ratas' plans to attend a commemorative concert-service at the Estonian church in Saint Petersburg next month.

Kallas, Kasemets, Maasikas: EU is strong, no upside to losing the euro

Speaking on Vikerraadio's "Reporteritund" ahead of the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, Siim Kallas, Keit Kasemets and Matti Maasikas agreed that despite its prblems, the EU remained strong as a union.