Despite the increase in labour expenses accompanying the increase in the cost of living, expenses of the Office of the President of the Republic of Estonia are to decrease by over 7% in 2019. President Kersti Kaljulaid's own salary, meanwhile, is set to increase this year.
The Office of the President's expenses are to total €4.421 million in 2019, down 7.5% from its 2018 budget of €4.782, it appears from the state budget. The Estonian government in November also allocated an additional €166,000 to the Office of the President to cover expenses related to receptions held for high-level visitors in 2018.
"Last year's expenses were greater as it was necessary to cover the contractual obligations to Estonian state-owned real estate company Riigi Kinnisvara AS (RKAS) arising from the cancellation of the construction of the Liberty residence for the President of the Republic as well as the organisation of the Republic of Estonia 100 concert production, which was bigger due to the centennial," presidential spokesperson Mailin Aasmäe told BNS.
Last year, the Office of the President paid out of its budget design costs in the amount of €354,000 to RKAS as well as Independence Day-related celebrations in the amount of €385,000, up some €135,000 compared to previous years, Ms Aasmäe noted.
As the president's salary and other related benefits are to increase along with the cost of living, the president's payroll and representation allowance is set to increase from 157,000 last year to 174,000 this year.
"The size of the president's salary is stipulated in the Salaries of Higher State Servants Act," Ms Aasmäe explained. "The law's highest salary rate is indexed with the highest salary rate index by 1 April of each calendar year, the value of which depends 20% on the annual growth of the consumer price index (CPI) and 80% on the annual growth in the payment of the pension insurance portion of the social tax. Thus, if these values increase, the highest salary rate will increase as well."
The president's current monthly salary is €5,356, up from €5,288 prior to the last indexation.
Per the President of the Republic Official Perquisites Act, the president is also paid a representation allowance that makes up 20% of her salary. The spouse's president is also paid a representation allowance equalling 30% of the president's salary, and 20% following the end of the president's term of office through the spouse's death.
The president's occupational pension is also calculated according to her salary; it equals 75% of the president's salary and, in the event of the president's death, each member of the president's family who is incapacitated for work will be paid a survivor's pension equal to half the size of the president's occupational pension.
The Office of the President's budget for special pensions is to increase from 121,000 in 2018 to 134,000 in 2019.
Editor: Aili Vahtla