Members of the Finance Committee of the Riigikogu on Tuesday met with European Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Creţu, who gave them an overview of the European Commission's plan for the EU's next budget period as well as the allocation of money from the Cohesion Fund.
Committee vice-chairman Taavi Rõivas (Reform) said that the European Commission's budget plan was a sensible compromise, according to spokespeople for the Riigikogu.
According to the plan put forward by the European Commission, cohesion support for Estonia would decrease due to the country's growing prosperity, however support for the agricultural sector would increase, as would opportunities to seek support for large projects.
According to Rõivas, the budget plan can be regarded with cautious optimism, as cohesion support for countries whose GDP has risen above 75% of the EU average will decline by 24% instead of the previously expected 45%, and several other kinds of support will make up for the decrease. On the whole, EU support for Estonia will remain roughly the same in size over the next seven years.
"The decrease in cohesion support is due to Estonia's fast economic growth over the last seven years and our level of prosperity reaching 76% of the EU average," he said. "At the same time, a considerably sharper drop was anticipated, and the Commission's proposal is a sensible compromise."
He added that funds earmarked for Estonia in the proposed EU budget would be the largest per capita among EU member states.
At the meeting, Rõivas underlined the need to observe the principles of equallity in the distribution of EU funds among member states, and stressed the importance of the allocation of cohesion aid to ensure the equality of various regions. In his opinion, the distribution of agricultural subsidies should be more even.
Creţu on Tuesday also introduced to the Riigikogu committee the timetable for handling the new multiannual financial framework (MFF).
Editor: Aili Vahtla