Ratas: I am prepared to draw up negative budget this spring

Centre Party chairman Jüri Ratas.
Centre Party chairman Jüri Ratas. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

Speaking to ERR on Thursday morning, Centre Party chairman and Prime Minister Jüri Ratas said that he is prepared to draw up a negative budget this spring already, should the Ministry of Finance's spring forecast prove to be pessimistic.

Is the coalition agreement more or less ready?

The coalition agreement has been argued almost to its completion, but we still need today and tomorrow to talk, and then the three parties' extended boards will have to speak their piece on Saturday.

The Ministry of Finance's spring forecast will be published on Thursday, and as far as we know, it won't be very optimistic. Will the budget have to start being cut this year already?

It's true that in the last two months of last year, both receipts as well as expenditures on things such as parental benefits, pensions, but also certain expenditures on investments, did not match up to forecast numbers. Which means that last year's deficit was bigger than planned.

And if necessary, then I am prepared to draw up a negative budget during the spring period. But it may also happen that once we know the forecast, then these changes can be made in autumn as well, when this year's amended budget will be in the Riigikogu regardless.

Does this mean that a lot of campaign promises are included in truncated form in the new coalition agreement, as there simply isn't any money for them?

I will say that during consultations, all three parties have taken the opportunities offered by the budget very seriously. And one thing is clear — if there are no opportunities in the budget for next year or the year after that, then we have not promised them either.

Thursday's edition of [daily] Postimees published an allocation of minister positions. To what extent is it accurate?

I read that list of possible ministers as well. I don't know that the minister positions will be divided up like that. But at the same time, I don't dare get into a big dispute with Postimees.

But the minister positions were divided up on Wednesday?

As I said, coalition consultations will continue today and tomorrow. And so long as consultations continue, nothing has been finally agreed upon.

Has it been agreed that one of the vice-president positions of the Board of the Riigikogu to be elected today will go to Isamaa, not Centre?

My party will begin discussing that at this morning's board meeting [at 8:00 EEST].

It's not certain, then, that it will go to Isamaa?

Certain discourse and consultations will take place this morning yet. And naturally the coalition being formed has to be prepared to back the candidates for both President of the Riigikogu and Vice-President of the Riigikogu.

Will members of the Centre Party parliamentary group back [Reform MP] Siim Kallas' candidacy for Vice-President of the Riigikogu?

Members of the Centre Party parliamentary group will back the coalition's candidate for the position of First Vice-President.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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