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Government passes decision allocating money to churches to parliament

Minister of Public Administration Jaak Aab (Center).
Minister of Public Administration Jaak Aab (Center). Source: (Sander Ilvest/Postimees/Scanpix)

The government has decided to pass the decision whether or not to allocate money to Estonia's churches to the Riigikogu. Before the necessary law is adopted, none of it can be paid out.

The government's intention to pay out a considerable amount of money to Estonia's churches to compensate for damages going back to the time of the Soviet occupation was met with sharp criticism, more than anything else on the part of Chancellor of Justice Ülle Madise, who turned to the Supreme Court in the matter.

Minister of Public Administration Jaak Aab (Center) now said in a letter sent to Madise that the government wants to amend the law for the sake of clarity, and not push on with an executive decision alone. "Before the law is adopted by the Riigikogu, support will not be paid out to the churches," Aab states in the letter.

The government decided on Dec. 28 last year to support the country's churches with €8.2 million euros, of which the Evangelical Lutheran Church (EELK) would receive €6.8 million and the Apostolic Orthodox Church (EAOK) €1.2 million.

At the beginning of March the government decided to amend two orders originally made in December to allocate money to the churches. According to the amendments, besides helping to compensate for damages caused by the war and the occupation, paying out the funds would also be connected to the churches' giving up any possible claims connected to property ownership and land reforms in the future.

Madise sharply criticized the government in the matter and announced she would turn to the Supreme Court regarding the issue.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

Source: BNS

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