At its additional sitting on Friday, the Riigikogu passed the 2024 State Budget Act, which had been tied to a confidence vote in the government.
Estonian parlt passes 2024 state budget
The state budget for next year was passed in the 101-seat chamber by a vote of 58 to 31.
According to the 2024 State Budget Act, which was initiated by the government and tied to a confidence vote in the government ahead of the second reading, revenues of next year's state budget will total 16.8 billion euros and expenditures 17.7 billion euros. Compared to this year, revenues will increase by 7.7 percent and expenditure by 4.9 percent.
A total of 1.9 billion euros will be channeled into the economy as investments and investment subsidies, of which 1.1 billion will come from European Union subsidies and 0.82 billion euros from the state budget. The structural deficit of the state budget will remain at the level of 1.2 percent and the nominal deficit will be 2.9 percent of GDP, according to the bill.
The focus of next year's state budget is on national defense -- both military and comprehensive national defense -- economic growth through green reforms and sustainability of public finances, education, increasing cyber security capabilities and supporting Ukraine.
In 2024, the national defense budget of Estonia will exceed 3 percent of GDP for the first time, reaching 3.2 percent. According to the minister, the country will contribute 1.3 billion euros to national defense next year and 5.6 billion euros in four years. The draft state budget also maintains the agreement to allocate 1 percent of GDP to research funding. 71.9 million euros have been earmarked for the transition to Estonian-language education and nearly 24 million euros for teacher salary increases. An additional 23 million euros will be invested next year to ensure cyber security and that the state's basic IT infrastructure is in order.
The bill passed the first reading in the Riigikogu on Oct. 18. Altogether 745 proposals to amend the bill were filed ahead of the second reading. On Nov. 23, the government decided to tie the adoption of the bill to a confidence vote in the government, which meant the government taking over the responsibilities of the lead committee. Amendments filed to bills tied to a confidence vote in the government are not put to a vote.
The opposition is convinced that the parliament should not have passed the 2024 State Budget Act, as the president on Friday refused to promulgate a law amending the Land Tax Act and the Taxation Act, passed by the parliament on Nov. 22, which is connected with the state budget.