Coalition fails to reach agreement on supplementary budget
The government coalition in Estonia failed to reach an agreement regarding the supplementary state budget on Monday, Minister of Finance Keit Pentus-Rosimannus told ERR, adding that they hope to have everything figured out by the end of the week.
"We're progressing on the supplementary budget at pace at which essentially all agreements will hopefully be concluded by the end of this week, and it will be possible to hand it over to the Riigikogu within the month of April," Pentus-Rosimannus said.
The volume of the supplementary budget has not yet been set, but is slated to fall within the €600-800 million range. "There are still details that are being clarified, which is why it's too soon to talk about definitive figures," she explained.
It is already clear that the supplementary budget will be divided between three bigger areas. Energy security-related expenses are expected to reach some €200 million, which will include the establishment of gas and fuel reserves, approximately €30 million for the construction of an LNG terminal as well as investments in energy savings, the finance minister said.
The second major area will be national defense, which is also expected to receive an additional €200 million. This will include the strengthening of both civil and military defense.
The third bigger area, which is to receive approximately €70 million from the planned supplementary budget, is the addressing of the immediate consequences of the effects of the war in Ukraine. According to Pentus-Rosimannus, this means allocating funding to Estonia's education system. Slated to receive funding are Estonian-language schools and kindergartens accepting war refugees from Ukraine.
Some €50 million from the supplementary budget is earmarked for offering shelter and housing to war refugees.
Also planned into the supplementary budget are proposed one-off benefits to be disbursed this fall, which Center Party parliamentary group chairman Jaanus Karilaid spoke to ERR about earlier on Monday.
According to Pentus-Rosimannus, the state intends to introduce a two-part solution to support target groups who have encountered hardships: increasing the monthly subsistence level from €150 to €200, and disbursing one-off financial benefits to pensioners and to families with children.
According to the finance minister, the exact amount of these benefits is currently still being discussed, but it is likely that a total of €30 million from the supplementary budget will be earmarked for their payment. Increasing the subsistence level as planned will require another €30 million.
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Editor: Aili Vahtla