Commenting on Estonia's new state budget strategy, Prime Minister Jüri Ratas said on Wednesday that the government will only make expenditures for which funds actually exist.
In an interview with ETV news broadcast "Aktuaalne kaamera," Ratas said that the primary dispute regarding the budget strategy was the sustainable financing of healthcare. He stressed that the government would not live at the expense of future generations.
"Our desire is to be able to achieve the economic growth potential that economic indicators are providing today," he explained. "Unfortunately, Estonia doesn't have that today, and the current government has indicated as one of its priorities that economic growth and investments are critical components for us, and we will naturally seek greater economic growth."
Ratas affirmed that the government could only make expenditures the funds for which actually exist.
"We will definitely not share a single cent that we do not currently have," said the prime minister. "At its current status, the state budget strategy was drawn up very conservatively and certainly doesn't include income lines with air or which are projected over by politicians."
Ratas finally admitted, however, that during the next two years, the budget will be allowed to go into a 0.5-percent deficit at the expense of accumulated reserves, with a 0.3-percent deficit in the following year.
During the interview, Ratas was asked as chairman of the ruling Center Party whether he approved of the proposal to award the Tallinn decoration to nonprofit Legal Information Centre for Human Rights (LICHR) director Aleksei Semjonov for his long-term, active work as an Estonian sociologist and defender of rights; this activity has been cited in Estonian Internal Security Service yearbooks as part of Russia's influence policy in Estonia.
"If you are asking me whether I would have made such a proposal, then the answer is that I wouldn't have," he said. "If I wouldn't have made this proposal, then I cannot consider it a positive proposal either."
Editor: Aili Vahtla