Eesti in brief - 2011-09-22

  • 2011-09-21

Next year’s budget for the Ministry of Defense will, according to current plans, grow by 21.8 percent, reports Eesti Paevaleht. “The increase in the budget of the Ministry of Defense is fully linked to the agreed level for defense spending – set at two percent of GDP,” stated the Ministry of Finance. According to the Ministry of Finance, this surge was taken into account in the maximum budgetary limits presented to ministries in June. All figures will be final after the approval of the draft budget at a government meeting. Until then, everything will be open for negotiation. The Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications will also get more funds next year. The biggest budget will be that of the Ministry of Social Affairs, the budget of which will grow by 5.4 percent, or by 143.1 million euros, in comparison to this year, totaling 2.7 billion euros.

The location of the European Union (EU) IT Agency for Justice, Freedom and Security in Tallinn was finally approved on Sept. 19 by the ministers during the meeting of the European Union’s General Affairs Council, reports BBN. The agency will be given the name - Agency for the Operational Management of Large-Scale IT Systems in the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice. The European Union General Affairs Council adopted a decree that will found in Tallinn an agency for the operative management of large-scale IT systems in the justice, freedom and security spheres. Currently two large-scale information systems are in use, but several new systems will be developed in the coming years due to the needs of EU security. The head office of the agency will be located in Tallinn, with data centers in France and Austria.

A public demonstration was organized in Tallinn on Sept. 19 in support of teachers’ demands for a pay raise, reports National Broadcasting. “When we speak about options, we should consider even a change in the taxation system,” claimed Peeter Kreitzberg, a member of the Social Democrat Party who was present at the picket. Representatives of the Ministry of Education and Science, the Estonian Association of Educators, Estonian Association of Teachers, of the Estonian Association of Cities and of the Estonian Association of Rural Municipalities also met in order to agree on minimum pay rates for teachers and to discuss options for raising wages. All parties to the negotiations recognized the need to value more highly the work done by teachers and the need to raise wages, but no agreements were reached on raising the teachers’ wages’ minimum rates from January 2012. The Estonian Association of Educators requested that minimum rates be raised by 20 percent; the Teachers’ Association asked for a 43 percent increase.