State budget bill passes second Riigikogu reading
The 2022 State Budget Bill passed its second Riigikogu reading Wednesday evening, with 58 votes in favor and 37 against at the 101-seat chamber.
The bill sets revenue for next year at €13.13 billion, while expenditures are entered at €13.64 billion, and investments stand at €716 million.
While expenditures exceed revenues in the bill, the structural position has improved both compared with 2021 and compared with the state budget strategy for 2022-2025 issued in May, ERR reports.
Defense spending accounts for 2.3 percent of GDP, while research and development spending for one percent of GDP.
The bill's second reading saw an amendment entered by the Riigikogu finance committee which clarifies inter- and intra-ministerial areas of governance, and a proposal to allocated €2 million in support of potential seafarers' redundancies and in support of trade.
None of the other proposed amendments, over 40 of them, were taken on, with the argument being they would have altered course on the state budget's objectives.
As may be expected, most of the MPs who spoke before the chamber during the course of the second reading came from the opposition – nine from Isamaa, four from the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) and four from the Social Democratic Party (SDE).
Isamaa and SDE's Riigikogu groups in addition called for suspending the second reading, but since it passed the vote this motion was rendered moribund.
Additionally, three Reform MPs and one Center MP spoke on the issue.
The action is likely to be the last significant one for finance committee chair Erki Savisaar (Center) in his current role; Savisaar was nominated new environment minister yesterday, Wednesday, replacing Tõnis Mölder, who is stepping down to spend more time with family.
The bill must pass one more reading before being implemented. The deadline for filing amendments ahead of this is 2 p.m. on November 22. The reading is likely to be one of the last actions of this Riigikogu session; parliament's last working day is Thursday, December 16, before breaking up for Christmas.
Follow ERR News on Facebook and Twitter and never miss an update!
Editor: Andrew Whyte