Ratas: I do not support balancing the budget in 2021

Estonia’s state budget will remain in deficit for years, Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center) said on Friday, and attempts to balance it in 2021 would require cuts totalling several billion euro.

Speaking on Vikerraadio’s program “Uudis ” Ratas said the world is experiencing a health and financial crisis which will leave Estonia and Europe in deficit.

But he does not support the goal of trying to balance Estonia’s budget next year.

“Now in order to strike a balance… it [would] take away money from education, health care, internal security, a path I certainly do not support,” said the Prime Minister.

Ratas said everything must be done to get out of the crisis so that unemployment does not increase and employment remains as high as possible. He stressed the state must definitely pay attention to stimulating the economy.

However, according to the Prime Minister, the rule of having a balanced budget will not apply in the European Union next year, but the budget deficit must not exceed 3 percent of GDP.

He said the Riigikogu has given the government permission to borrow €5 billion and that part of the €2.8 billion borrowed has been used to cover current expenses.

He said the money will be used to compensate lost tax revenues and to cover the supplementary budget expenses implemented in the spring.

On Thursday, Minster of Finance Martin Helme (EKRE) also said the budget will not be balanced next year or for several years after.

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