New coalition would bring back top-up subsidies (1)
The Center Party, the Social Democrats, and IRL have agreed that to support farmers their coalition would reintroduce top-up subsidies, additional financial support paid by a member state government on top of European Union subsidies to farmers.
The measure would cost some €20m in 2017. The last time Estonia paid out top-up subsidies was in 2013. In the meantime several member state continued them, including Latvia and Lithuania, which has prompted Estonian farmers to complain they have been treated unfairly, ETV’s “Aktuaalne Kaamera” reported.
The main reason why Estonia stopped paying these subsidies in 2013 is their cost. In the last year they were paid out, they amounted to €20m, and they are expected to cost the same if implemented again next year.
Chairman of the Riigikogu’s Rural Affairs Committee, Ivari Padar (SDE), said that the cost would decrease towards 2020, when he expects it to be around €15m.
Chairman of the Tartu County farmers’ union, Jaan Sõrra, said that this decision would make him scrape the stickers off his car protesting against the agricultural policy of the Rõivas government.
Sõrra, who participated in a protest in Tallinn to which farmers drove with 101 tractors, said that he would keep the files though, and that new stickers could quickly be printed off if necessary.
Ministry of Regional Affairs might get its old name back
Part of the ongoing coalition negotiations is a suggestion by IRL to turn the Ministry of Regional Affairs back into the Ministry of Agriculture. According to this plan, those government officers currently working on regional affairs matters in the Ministry of Finance would be moved as well.