Cabinet Members Disagree Over Feasibility of Restoring Top-Up Subsidies for Estonian Farmers
Minister of Agriculture Ivari Padar has been stumping to reinstate top-up subsidies for Estonia's farmers, but making good on the pledge may be tricky.
The new coalition, already facing some costs in the form of promises, would have to come up with an additional 20 million euros, money that Padar maintains is a good investment.
Padar made the pitch on Friday at the plenary session of the farmers' congress in Elva.
Head of the Farmers' Federation Kalev Kreegipuu said that farmers are awaiting the reinstatement of top-ups eagerly.
"Our biggest concern is that it isn't clear that we will get domestic support by 2015. Actually the EU allows top-ups to be paid and our nearest neighbours do indeed pay it," he said.
Finance Minister Jürgen Ligi threw cold water on the idea today, saying that Padar was simply currying favor by making a promise.
"The nature of popular ministers is exactly this, that those who do so much as to promise something are considered good," Ligi told uudised.err.ee.
"Unfortunately I have to be contrary and say we would a lll be very rich if it boiled down to asking for more money. Actually the major additional expenses have been agreed in the coalition as to how they will be covered."
While Padar said the budget strategy is flexible, Ligi said that wasn't true. The European Commission is expected to release country-specific recommendations today that increase restrictions on spending.