ERR: Culture minister confirmed that TV house funds would not be taken away

Winning architectural design for the proposed new TV house.
Winning architectural design for the proposed new TV house. Source: Kadarik Tüür Arhitektid

Public broadcaster ERR board chairman Erik Roose said Minister of Culture Tiit Terik told him that the development of ERR's new TV house will not be left on the backburner even if the funds for it will be allocated to the reconstruction of the National Library building.

ERR management board chairman Erik Roose and supervisory board chair Rein Veidemann met with Minister of Culture Tiit Terik and culture ministry Secretary-General Tarvi Sits on Friday to discuss the plans for the funding of the public broadcaster's new TV complex.

The construction tender for the reconstruction of the joint building of the Estonian National Library and the National Archives exceeds the funds allocated in the state budget strategy for 2022-2025, which was €53.2 million at that time, BNS reported.

"The minister explained the decision and confirmed to us that he would take the investment into ERR's new TV complex, along with the increased construction prices by that time, to the next state budget strategy project," Roose said.

"As the state budget strategy is usually drawn up in fall, construction prices will increase significantly by then. This means an additional €35 million on construction alone with the funds from the sale of the plot on Gonsiori tänav to be added to that sum," the board chair said.

On the proposal of the Ministry of Finance, the government decided to cover the increase in the cost of the construction phase of the reconstruction of the National Library building from the funds for the construction of the new television complex of ERR provided for in the state budget strategy for 2022-2025.

The state budget strategy's initial contribution to the development was €22 million, which has now been moved to the future. The development would give ERR's television studies modern rooms and the building would be located between the radio and news houses on Gonsiori street in Tallinn.

"The Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Education and Research, in cooperation with state real estate manager RKAS and the Ministry of Finance, will further analyze the budget of the National Library's furnishing costs and submit a clarified calculation before the discussion of the state budget strategy for 2023-2026. Possibilities for financing the respective expenditures will be discussed during the handling of the state budget strategy 2023-2026 and the state budget for 2023," Hannus Luure, the public relations adviser of the culture ministry, told BNS.

He emphasized that the process of reconstructing the National Library is already underway and cannot be stopped. The financing possibilities of the costs associated with the construction of the public broadcaster's television complex will be discussed during the handling of the state budget strategy for 2023-2026 and the state budget for 2023.

"ERR is still a priority as before, this is rather a budgetary issue -- there are expenditures planned for ERR that are not currently being used, but will be postponed," Luure said.

RKAS announced a public procurement for the renovation of the building of the National Library at Tõnismagi, Tallinn in July. However, the tender offers received by the September deadline far exceeded the €7.8 million originally earmarked for 2022. 

RKAS said in October that it has not enough funds to proceed with the reconstruction of the building, as both tenders in the public procurement significantly exceeded the initial estimated cost of the works in 2022. 

"As both tenders exceed the budget, we cannot finalize the evaluation protocol for the tenders, as there are no decisions on the possibility of covering the cost increase," RKAS spokesperson Annely Jõgeva told BNS.

The National Library of Estonia. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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