Kallas: Budget cuts will not be made at expense of internal security

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There will be no cuts in next year's state budget at the expense of internal security, Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) promised on Wednesday.

Speaking on the pre-recorded Vikerraadio radio program "Stuudios on peaminister", Kallas said: "I can confirm that internal security is one of the priorities and it will not get any worse. I am assured that no command will close, no police officer currently working will be made redundant."

The prime minister refused to comment further on the budget plans before the autumn forecast is published on Thursday.

Speaking about the green revolution, Kallas said it opens up new opportunities, but also raises concerns that could turn people against it. For example, if transport emissions are to be reduced these savings may come from cars.

Kallas said cars in Central Europe are different from cars in Estonia. "The average age of a car in Estonia is 14 years old because people cannot afford a newer car that emits less pollution. And if we put a limit on such cars now, then we will hit those who are already hit the hardest," she said.

The prime minister said the economy's ability to cope as well as other important aspects must be kept in mind during the transition.

Speaking about the Health Board's cold storage scandal which destroyed hundreds of thousands of vaccines and medicines, Kallas said it is a very unfortunate case.

She said the main mistakes were made in 2017 before Tanel Kiik become the responsible minister. "In some ways, it seems unfair to me that a person should be responsible for things that have happened mostly in the past," Kallas said.

Kallas does not approve of the politicization of vaccination. But she said it is necessary to discuss that some people have concerns. "Politicization certainly does not help," she said.

Asked when Estonia will lift all coronavirus restrictions, Kallas said the necessary rate of vaccination must be achieved first. Achieving the currently set goal of 70 percent vaccination will be difficult, she said.

Earlier this week, Finland said all coronavirus restrictions would be lifted when 80 percent of adults are vaccinated. Estonia's current rate is 65 percent of adults.  

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Editor: Helen Wright

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