Minister of Finance Mart Võrklaev (Reform) said the government did not finalize its decisions on cuts to the state budget during Thursday's meeting. Both the interior and education ministers also said there were still some loose ends to tie up at state budget negotiations. It will be possible to cut €50 million from next year's budget, however, the same amount will also need to be found in order to cover prior commitments.
The government will continue discussion on cuts to the state budget next week, said Võrklaev. The finance minister was therefore reluctant to disclose, which cuts have been proposed by the various government ministries. Minister of Education Kristina Kallas (Eesti 200) said that the search for places to make cuts was nearing its conclusion.
"We have agreed on most of them, but we still have some loose ends to negotiate. These relate to real estate and staffing. Nobody is looking to cut salaries because we still have inflation and purchasing power has fallen. However, there are also a lot of decisions that will lead to a reduction in bureaucratic procedures," said Kallas.
At least €50 million is to be found in next year's state budget through making swift cuts.
"I can't confirm what will definitely come out of this, because the government has not made the decision. We are discussing the fact that ministers have proposed certain cuts. And, yes, there are also some questions about whether (we) still want to do everything. Of course, my expectation would be that the (cuts) the ministers have put forward, we will decided upon and then implemented. But if there is a desire to discuss the details further, then the government must do that in order for these decisions to be taken," said Võrklaev.
According to Kristina Kallas, it is possible to save €50 million in next year's state budget.
"However, we also have to take into account that we have a lot of commitments from last year, for which we still have not found the money. So, if we cut €50 million, at the same time we have commitments that we have to meet, of at least the same size," Kallas said.
Minister of the Interior Lauri Läänemets (SDE) also said that a lot had become clearer in Thursday's meeting in regard to savings. However, when it comes to its overall worldview, the Social Democratic Party is not in favor of making state cuts, Läänemets said.
"We need this state, we need this support, we need good education, we need a functioning healthcare system and we need internal security. The agreement is about savings as well as revenue, and we have not yet discussed the revenue aspect at all during these negotiations. We're going to go through some of the items one by one, where there really is some common ground. We've pretty much already decided on a lot of points. However, the basic, bigger and more complex matters are still to be decided as a whole," Läänemets said.
Editor: Michael Cole