9 Dec 2009 20:03

Estonia parliament passes 2010 draft budget

TALLINN. Dec 9 (Interfax) - Estonia's parliament on Wednesday passed the 2010 draft budget.

The draft budget, which sets total planned revenues at 84.53 billion and total proposed expenditures at 89.73 billion krooni (there is 15.6 krooni to the euro), received 55 votes in the 101-seat legislature, with 39 votes against and no abstentions.

The chairman of parliament's finance commission, Taavi Roivas, made a report in which he expressed hope that the 2010 budget would not be sequestrated, unlike the 2009 budget, which has undergone two sequestrations.

Roivas cited the Finance Ministry, central bank and European Commission as estimating that the public sector deficit would stay within 3% of GDP and would meet the Maastricht criteria needed for the country to join the euro zone.

Estonia's government has repeatedly said the country is due to join the euro zone on January 1, 2011, and is to fulfill all the requirements for this in 2010. To make this possible, the 2010 budget makes provision for revenues from planned increases in fuel, alcohol and tobacco excise. Larger inputs from the European Union are also expected.