ERR's Estonian-language online news portal has published the full list of how and to whom exactly the coalition parties will be distributing so-called protection money* in 2019. ERR News, in turn, is providing an overview of how much is going where, and who will benefit the most next year.
The Centre Party will be distributing a total of €2.2 million, Pro Patria €1.86 million and the Social Democratic Party (SDE) €1.94 million in protection money next year.
Of the opposition, the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) will be distributing €300,000, while the Free Party is to distribute €227,000 in protection money.
The opposition Reform Party, meanwhile, declined any protection money at all. Reform parliamentary group chairman Jürgen Ligi told ERR that he considers this kind of handing out of money to be pure corruption that lacks any ties whatsoever to development plans, competitions, public procurements or cost-benefit analyses.
"All best practices are disregarded, and this is shameless in the fact that money is distributed to things and organisations directly tied to themselves," Ligi added.
*This distribution of funds referred to in Estonian as katuseraha — protection money — goes back to the 1990s. A certain amount of money was reserved to be allocated at the discretion of the Riigikogu's members to satisfy different parties' interests. The arrangement is still in place, discussed towards the end of every year, and acts as a sort of grease in the process of getting a majority for the state budget bill.
Editor: Aili Vahtla