Coalition united in supporting anti-abortionists, churches and sport

Copy
Center Party, Conservative People’s Party (EKRE) and Isamaa MPs have put forth a common so-called Riigikogu protection money or direct regional investments recipients list worth over €6.4 million.
Center Party, Conservative People’s Party (EKRE) and Isamaa MPs have put forth a common so-called Riigikogu protection money or direct regional investments recipients list worth over €6.4 million. Photo: AFP / Scanpix

Proposals received by the Riigikogu on Monday reveal that Center Party, Conservative People’s Party (EKRE) and Isamaa MPs have put forth a common so-called Riigikogu protection money or direct regional investments recipients list worth over €6.4 million. The largest single sum is earmarked for NGO Elu Marss (March of Life) the leaders of which held an anti-abortion protest in summer.

Around 14 percent of the coalition’s protection money (€894,500 for 71 recipients) will be used to support Christian churches and relevant undertakings. The largest single sum (€75,000) will go to the Estonian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate and its Church of the Epiphany in Jõhvi. The church is one of symbolic significance to the Russian Orthodox believers in Estonia the funding of which serves the local elections campaign of the Center Party and especially Martin Repinski in Virumaa.

€50,000 will go to the Estonian Council of Churches for media procurements, mainly Christian content on public broadcaster ERR channels. Considering that NGO Elu Marss also supports Christian ideas, the coalition will spend 16 percent of its protection money on such endeavors.

The Tallinn Toompea St. Charles’ Congregation that is the spiritual home of EKRE leader, Minister of Finance Martin Helme is looking at €35,000 for developing its school’s study environment.

Additional sums found

The 2021 protection money sum in the government’s reserve comes to €6.385 million. Proposals of the oppositional Social Democratic Party (SDE) take the total sum to €6.725 million.

The coalition has exceeded its proposals budget by €340,000. Because the coalition’s proposals form a whole this time, the additional sum needs to be found at the expense of other things in the state budget or from the government reserve. “The money needs to come from the state budget,” head of the Riigikogu Finance Committee Aivar Kokk (Isamaa) said on Monday without giving any additional details.

Even though the coronavirus crisis takes center stage in next year’s state budget, October local government council elections cannot be overlooked. This means protection money landing in almost all counties, even though the largest sums will still be taken in by Tallinn NGOs. The smallest sum of €74,500 total will go to Hiiumaa.

At the same time, one of the largest single sums (€120,000) will go to the Türi Municipality government for a new creativity house.

“We are dealing with a project to create hobby opportunities for young people and families in an old schoolhouse we are renovating. The building was disused. We need to refit former classrooms for art and pottery classes, fix up the toilets,” said municipality elder Pipi-Liis Siemann (Isamaa) who has approached both Isamaa and Center MPs with requests for funding.

Even though the opposition Reform Party group said they would not be participating in distributing direct regional investments, the Social Democratic Party (SDE) has put forward its proposals worth €300,000.

Attention SDE have been paying to Southeastern Estonia has been gradually falling, with the party’s contribution to the area coming down from a third of its investments in 2019 to 15 percent in 2020 and to 13.6 percent this time for a total of €41,000 for all three counties.

“We are not measuring percentages. We distribute the money between counties, whereas every MP also gets to allocate €5,000 this time,” SDE MP Ivari Padar said. He will support the Võru Institute for the publishing of books in Võro language.

Kalvi Kõva will allocate €5,000 for the Luhamaa rescue building in Setomaa Municipality.

The social democrats will allocate the single largest sum of €21,000 to NGO Eesti Linnaratturite Liit (City Bikers Association) headed by architect Tõnis Savi. SDE in Tallinn held a meeting in support of cycling safety in September. The capital’s social democrats are headed by MP Raimond Kaljulaid who has criticized poor city planning.

Larger sums also went the way of the Jeti winter and ice sports club (€18,000) the organization in charge of which, the Estonian Curling Association, is curated by another SDE MP Rainer Vakra; and the Estonian Society for the Protection of Animals head of which Kaisa Kaljurand is the daughter of SDE MEP Marina Kaljurand.

Tallinn

Sports Association Kalev the board of which is chaired by Center’s Kalle Klandorf will get €45,000 or more than double what it received for 2020.

“I’m in the gym, lifting weights. I know nothing about it. Why ask me? It is great news for the nonprofit. I have no comment. Ask around elsewhere,” Klandorf said.

The Tallinn Volleyball Club has also doubled its intake from last year to €45,000.

“We are the largest volleyball club. We have expanded to Harju County, Märjamaa. We want to secure footholds all over Estonia. We need sporting goods. There are plenty of expenses: travel expenses, rent of premises,” club president Lauri Kasper said.

Top