Anti-abortion NGO still awaiting state funds pledged by last administration
State money earmarked for an anti-abortion non-profit association last year has not been paid out. The €171,000 due to the organization, called Elu Marss (March of Life), is tied up in procedural matters, the interior ministry said Wednesday.
The organization itself posted on its social media page that: "As we have yet to receive the support belonging to us, we've launched a donation campaign."
The funds were allocated by the previous administration, consisting of the Center Party, the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) and Isamaa, with the move more closely in line with the latter two parties' worldview, particularly that of EKRE.
The funds are part of a scheme often translated as "protection money" or "roof money" (a literal translation of Katuseraha), which are issued to each elected political party in proportion to their representation, for them to allocate to regional and social projects of their choice.
The funds are issued just in advance of the state budget's readings at the Riigikogu and as such arguably grease the wheels for this process as well.
The Reform Party, which is now in the coalition, has long been opposed to the protection money scheme and does not partake in it.
Of the €6.4 million in protection money issued last year, the component earmarked for March of Life was the largest sum devoted to one, single project.
The organization plans another march this year which, it says, it requires funding in order to go ahead.
Last year's march was held in August and was attended by the EKRE leadership. It was conducted in Tallinn's Old Town and covered a distance of a few hundred meters.
The funds remain in the interior ministry's remit, but can only be paid out via a civil society program, one which is seen as of benefit to Estonian society within the ministerial area of responsibility, while an application must be filed which outlines how the funding will be used, while this will be monitored on an ongoing basis as well, to ensure the funds are being used for their intended purpose.
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Editor: Andrew Whyte