An over-800-million-euro supplementary budget Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) presented before the Riigikogu Monday afternoon, and which was issued in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, should reflect measures aimed at combating inflation, opposition leaders say.
State Budget Control Select Committee chair Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) said that: "Making this supplementary budget stronger, which protects our security, which improves the ability of our people and economy to fight inflation and which would actually enforce Estonian-language education in Estonia, is viable. I think these are the most important aspects, especially in critical situations."
The select committee held a public sitting focused on the supplementary budget and involving government ministers, after which Reinsalu, a former foreign minster, made his remarks.
Reinsalu added that he did not think that the supplementary budget, which spends roughly €250 million on each of three categories: National defense, energy security and refugee arrivals in Estonia from Ukraine, would have a smooth ride through the Riigikogu.
State Budget Control Select Committee member Peeter Ernits (EKRE) said that while several ministers had taken part in the public meeting on the supplementary budget, he had not received answers to his questions on it.
He said: "All manner of things are concealed within it. When we take a look at one or another aspect – well, energy security is fine, we have pledged to decouple from Russian gas. Actually, I have also noted to the committee that Eesti Gaas management have said that perhaps in come summer, they will have to start eating their words. Naturally no answer came as to whether they will start eating their words."
The supplementary budget comes to €802.9 million, while the Estonian state is taking out a €1.6-billion loan this year, the new budget does not spell any additional borrowing, finance minister Keit Pentus-Rosimannus (Reform) said.
She said: "We have a so-named limit in the main budget, which stands at a little over €7 billion. And we will not increase or change this limit with this supplementary budget."
Pentus-Rosimannus said she hope the supplementary budget will pass its first Riigikogu reading this week already.
The bill must pass three readings before entering effect. Reform and Center together have 60 seats at the 101-seat Riigikogu.
Prime Minister Kaja Kallas presented the supplementary budget, the third of its kind in as many years - the first two were issued in response to the Covid pandemic - before the Riigikogu Monday afternoon.
Editor: Andrew Whyte