The 2022 State Budget Bill has passed its third and final Riigikogu reading, with 59 votes in favor and 37 against, meaning it will now be enshrined into law.
The bill passed its first reading in October and its second in November without any major hitches or delays. Last year's bill passed on practically the same day, December 9.
Three MPs did not vote on the bill – opposition Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) leader Martin Helme, and two opposition Social Democratic Party (SDE) MPs, Lauri Läänemets and Ivari Padar.
Three main directions are contained in next year's state budget: Controlling the state daily expenditures, investing in people, and ensuring a rapid and sustainable development for Estonia, ERR reports.
The government says its priorities with the bill, which now becomes an act once President Alar Karis has given formal assent to it, are a rapid exit from the coronavirus pandemic, support for public health, both physical and mental, financial sustainability, education and innovation, as well as the green economy, the reduction of regional inequalities, and strong foreign policy and defense and security policy.
Moving towards structural budgetary balance, a Reform shibboleth, are also a part of the bill.
The only amendments made between second and third readings were aimed at boosting the competitiveness of the maritime sector and to continue with the support measures for international passenger shipping, a sector massively affected by the pandemic.
2022 State budget quick facts:
- Revenues: €13.132 billion.
- Expenditures: €13.633 billion.
- Structural position has improved both compared with 2021 and compared with the state budget strategy for 2022-2025, which was unveiled in May.
- Investments: €724 million.
- Defense spending accounts for 2.3 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
- Research and development spending for 1 percent of GDP.
- €2.78 million will be allocated for regional investments.
- In addition to the 2022-2025 strategy, the budget was drafted on the basis of European Commission recommendations, and the Estonian Ministry of Finance's summer forecast.
The Riigikogu finishes for Christmas next Thursday, making the act's passing one of the last legislative procedures of the year.
Editor: Andrew Whyte