TALLINN - The plans of Estonian ministries for next year are being revealed in the course of budgetary negotiations and hence the state budget for 2011 is also being formed; as usual the ministry of social affairs has the biggest gap between the amount of requested funds and the amount that the Ministry of Finance has earmarked for it, reports Postimees. On Sept. 2, the minister of finance, Jurgen Ligi, gave an overview to the government about ministries’ requests for funding for next year. According to information available, all ministries, apart from the Ministry of Defense, have exceeded their budget limits by 100 - 400 million kroons. The total gap between the requests of ministries and planned financing might even reach 5 billion kroons (320.5 million euros).
Social Minister Hanno Pevkur was not very willing to talk about the matter. “We have to look at the figures together. But my priority is that all pensions, compensations and supports are paid,” he said.
The promise of the governing coalition to restore the second pension pillar payments will seriously burden the budget. Prime Minister Andrus Ansip admitted that the budget is the most important political document every year and compiling it will be difficult. He referred to the pension pillar also, and to expenditures that haven’t been in budgets before. “Disputes will be heated, but emotions cannot be above reason and pragmatism,” he said.
Ansip added that dreams have to be curbed next year too, but new tax increases are not planned. Only the tobacco excise tax will increase by 10 percent on Jan. 1, and that will be all.
Economy Minister Juhan Parts said that the upcoming parliamentary elections will leave its mark on compiling the budget, and silly decisions have to be avoided. The budget balance must be improved to start collecting reserves for future crises.