Ratas to IMF: Estonia's budget to reach balance by 2020
At a meeting with representatives of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center) said that Estonia meets the objective of medium-term budget balance and according to current plans should reach a balance by the year 2020.
At the meeting, Ratas introduced the Estonian government's budget policy as well as activities to support long-term economic growth, increase productivity and solve problems on the labor market in Estonia, according to a government press release.
He noted that the demographic situation is and will continue to be Estonia's biggest challenge, which must be addressed with state reforms and comprehensive family policy as well as via the digitization and automation of the economy.
Ratas highlighted, however, that the 4.9 percent economic growth achieved in 2017 was significantly greater than in previous years and encompassed most areas, and stressed that the government is making an effort to ensure that economic development in Estonia is sustainable and inclusive.
Also discussed at the meeting was the structural balance of the state budget. Ratas noted that Estonia meets the objective of the medium-term budget balance and will reach a balance by 2020, according to current plans. At the same time, the country's low debt burden will be decreased.
During this period, of greatest importance will be investments into the development of a more equal society, increasing productivity, the sustainability of the healthcare system, the strengthening of Estonia's defense capability as well as co-financing projects financed from EU funding, such as Rail Baltica.
The parties agreed that a well-considered and future-oriented tax policy is key to maintaining stable economic development, adding that it is important to be prepared for changes brought along by the next long-term EU budget and the aging population.
Ratas also gave an overview of the discussion on the state budget strategy for 2019-2022 to begin soon as well as the work of the government's Economic Development Committee in increasing productivity and solving employment-related issues, including measures taken to increase the annual foreign labor quota. He also spoke about the work ability reform process, the pension reform initiated by the government as well as other matters closely connected to Estonia's economic development.
The IMF delegation will publish their assessment of the Estonian economy on Monday.
Editor: Aili Vahtla