Ratas: No money to fulfil coalition agreement this year
In an interview with weekly Maaleht, Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre) said that there is no money this year for his new coalition to fund any big initiatives.
"The government coalition definitely does not have the opportunity to fulfil big initiatives costing millions of euros this year," Mr Ratas told Maaleht (link in Estonian). Asked what kind of sums the coalition, which consists of the Centre Party, the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) and Isamaa, will be given to use, he added, "I don't think we will be seeing those numbers this year."
According to the prime minister, he did not have an overview of the fulfilment of last year's state budget until 4 April, when the Ministry of Finance submitted information about it. He noted that there will be no need to adjust this year's budget this spring, but added that this autumn, the possible deficit will need to be reduced by some 0.1-0.2%.
Mr Ratas remained vague about promises to increase wages, referring to Centre's coalition partners as well as the opportunities provided by the budget. "These are all financial promises, and I believe that the coalition can only consider them in conjunction with actual financial cover," he said.
"We need to be conservative on one hand and responsible on the other, but we also need to be flexible," the prime minister said. "Specific promises can only be fulfilled once they have financial cover as well, not when they are nicely written on a white piece of paper; the latter is of little use."
Editor: Aili Vahtla