2013 Budget Takes Shape, Reflecting Demographic Shift
As the state budget takes on its basic outlines, it reflects an involuntary and inevitable transition to being a social welfare state, Postimees reported.
With negotiations still ongoing, the basic allocations by policy area are more or less in place. National health policy will receive 0.07 percent more in 2013. Workforce and social security policy will increase by 0.03 percent. Those two areas represent an increase of 140 million euros, which is most of the total for the gainers.
On the other side of the ledger, culture will receive 0.08 percent less, domestic security will drop by 0.06 percent, regional development and rural life by 0.12 percent, education by 0.01 percent and economic competitiveness policy by 0.10 percent.
According to the analysis, that is consistent with the policy trend of spending more on the aging population while support for other areas are nibbled away.
With the social sector already getting more from the state budget than any other - pensions in the 2013 budget make up 21.6 percent of the state's total expenditures compared to 19.9 percent - the Social Affairs ministry stands to also ask for more additional funding during negotiations than any other government body.
The standoff between social affairs and finance ministries - the latter resolutely denies increases but is expected to eventually compromise in some cases - is the defining theme for state budgets this year and the next few years, writes the newspaper.