Eesti in brief - 2011-02-17

  • 2011-02-16

Estonian Finance Minister Jurgen Ligi has sent to other ministries and institutions guidelines for updating the development plans for the next four years, warning that the budgetary strategy does not foresee growth in operating costs, reports Postimees Online. The updates of the development plans are the basis for compiling the state’s budgetary strategy for 2012-2015, the Finance Ministry said. Ligi said that, despite the improvement of the economic situation, the budget still has a deficit. After the economic crisis it is important to restore the government sector budget surplus and reserves. “A valid budgetary strategy does not foresee a growth in operating costs in the coming years,” Ligi stressed. The only considerable budgetary cover for new activities is cost-cutting and setting priorities in policies of different spheres. For the first time, the European Commission will give recommendations for the budgetary policies of Estonia as well as to other EU member states. This takes place in summer of 2011.

Estonia’s two-party ruling coalition is set to increase its majority in parliament after the general election next month, reports Postimees, citing a poll and editorial calculations. The Reform Party of Estonian Prime Minister Andrus Ansip will win 40 seats in the 101-member Riigikogu, and the junior Isamaa ja Res Publica Liit of former premier Mart Laar will get 18 seats, compared with 31 and 19 in the last elections, respectively, the Tallinn-based newspaper said. The calculations are based on 677 people who plan to take part in the March 6 vote, and were polled last month. The calculations eliminate votes for single candidates who aren’t expected to get enough support to win a parliamentary seat and for parties that probably won’t reach the electoral threshold of five percent.

A new type of wireless surveillance equipment, Smartdec, developed by an Estonian company, will be installed at the EU foreign border, at the Estonian-Russian control line, reports Eesti Paevaleht Online. The contract for this was concluded on Jan. 7 and is worth 162,850 euros. Defendec handed over the equipment to the Police and Border guard on Feb. 11. The system consists of portable sensors and software. The equipment, that ascertains border violations and crimes connected to it with the help of a unique identification algorithm, blends in with the environment. It is claimed to be cost effective and does not require much maintenance. At the end of last year, the system was successfully used by Estonian border guards who, as part of the border guard RABIT Border Intervention Teams at the Greek-Turkish border, used it to catch illegal immigrants.