Former Finance Minister Keit Pentus-Rosimannus (Reform Party) admitted that it was agreed during coalition talks that the Social Democratic Party (SDE) would get more money in the state budget for regional investments and civil society, which is why relevant allocations could not have taken partners by surprise.
"Talks concentrated on a rapid switch to Estonian education and the Social Democrats' wish to allocate more money for regional development and civil society. Both were agreed towards the end of talks, meaning that the agreement had two parts from the start, which cannot come as a surprise to any government partner," Pentus-Rosimannus wrote in a comment to ERR.
"When the coalition was being formed, SDE considered efforts to balance regional development as important as Isamaa and Reform considered switching rapidly to education in Estonian, and the agreement considered both wishes," the former minister added.
She said that the details were meant to be hashed out in the process of putting together the state budget, and the list of proposals for how to contribute to regions and civil society still open when the budget bill was filed.
"This means we could only decide the fundamental distribution between ministries initially in the government. More detailed allocations were to be decided in the course of Riigikogu deliberations," she explained.
The Tuesday decision by the Riigikogu Finance Committee to retain €6.3 million for community development and internal security volunteers in the interior ministry's budget is in line with agreements made during the government's formation, Pentus-Rosimannus said.
SDE leader, Minister of the Interior Lauri Läänemets wanted the allocation of €6,3 million to go toward construction and renovation of kindergartens and schools. The committee decided on Tuesday that the money will instead be diverted back to the ministry than can use it to support NGOs and foundation in its administrative area.
Läänemets has said that the money was put in the budget plan by former Finance Minister Pentus-Rosimannus.
She resigned on October 18 and also announced her withdrawal from politics in connection with becoming Estonia's European Court of Auditors member.
Pentus-Rosimannus was chosen as Estonia's ECA candidate with Reform and SDE votes, while some Isamaa ministers opposed it.
Editor: Mait Ots, Marcus Turovski