The council of the opposition Isamaa party approved its Riigikogu elections program on Saturday in which it plans to borrow a billion euros a year to go toward birthrate, educators' salaries and national defense.
Isamaa's program for the 2023 Riigikogu elections prescribes borrowing an additional €1 billion annually to hike family benefits and salaries of teachers and professors, and invest in defense.
The party would spend over a billion on defense in the first years, with additional spending of €1 billion annually coming together as the ten-year annual.
Isamaa said that while covering current spending using loan money is insensible, birthrate, education and defense expenses constitute investing in the survival of the Estonian people.
The Maastricht criteria cap EU member states' public loan burden at 60 percent of GDP, while Estonia's is four times lower, Isamaa said.
To reverse population trends, Isamaa plans to hike the first and second child benefit to €100, the third child benefit to €700 (from the current €500 – ed.) and to give families with four or more children a home loan grant of €75,000. The party also wants to index family benefits.
Isamaa has calculated the cost at €243 million and would implement these measures in 2024.
Isamaa wants to hike the salary of teachers to 1.25 times the national average to support Estonian-language education, research and culture. The salary of university professors would be hiked to four times the national average, that of assistant professors to triple average salary and that of lecturers with a doctoral degree to double the average wage. The party also wants to invest heavily in teacher training. The price tag of this measures is €285 million.
To develop defense, Isamaa wants extraordinary investments into military national defense, to finish eastern border infrastructure ahead of schedule, develop defensive capacity at sea and border bodies of water, as well as in the air. Also, to develop civil protection.
Defense investments would be made irrespective of the cost, and the party does not rule out hiking defense spending to above 3 percent of GDP.
Riigikogu elections will be held on March 5, 2023.
Editor: Marcus Turovski