The Riigikogu's Foreign Affairs Committee has requested an increase in the future budget available for Riigikogu members and Chancellery staff to take part in foreign missions.
Andres Sutt, chair of the outgoing Foreign Affairs Committee, wrote, that the current budget for foreign missions undertaken by Riigikogu members and Chancellery staff, as well as for the reception of guests, does not reflect the reality of the evolving international security situation and the real need for strong international relations.
"The 2022 foreign missions budget was used in full and some (other) visits, which had already been planned and would have cost €100,000, were cancelled. In addition, the cost of missions, including accommodation and transport, has increased significantly," Sutt wrote.
"On January 18 this year, a meeting was held with the leaders of the Riigikogu parliamentary groups, during which it was acknowledged, that parliamentary groups are an important form of foreign policy communication. The budget however, is out of date. Estonia is a small country and every person who carries its message is valuable. That is why the budget needs to be increased in this area too," Sutt added.
Sutt pointed out, that the foreign missions budget for Riigikogu members and Riigikogu Chancellery staff has remained the same since 2015.
"According to the estimates, the total amount required in the 2022 foreign missions budget was €680,000, leaving a shortfall of €100,000. Taking into account the needs of the previous year, along with (recent) price increases, I propose that when planning the RES (State budget strategy) for 2024-2027, the total (annual) budget for the external missions of Riigikogu members and Chancellery staff, ought to be at least €700,000, and that it should increase each year in accordance with external relations needs," said Sutt.
Editor: Michael Cole