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The President of the Republic promulgated the State Budget of the Year 2004 Act

The President of the Republic today promulgated the State Budget of the Year 2004 Act passed by the Riigikogu on December 17.

Although the State Budget of the Year 2004 Bill was critizised during the legislative process in the Riigikogu, President Rüütel still decided to sign it into law. "The Riigikogu faction of the Estonian Centre Party has addressed to me a proposal to decline to promulgate the State Budget of the Year 2004 Act. They have explained it by the fact that the subsistence benefit provided for in the passed State Budget Act - 500 kroons per month - would not cover the cost of the food basket and would not be sufficient for those in need. I do understand and share the concern of the Members of the Riigikogu for our fellow citizens suffering from poverty. Nevertheless, in my view, the passed act does not conflict with the Constitution in a way that would justify a refusal to promulgate the act. I think that this political decision made by the Riigikogu falls within their legislative discretion," President Rüütel said.

According to the President of the Republic, the circumstance that the budget act provided for a certain increase of other types of social benefits helped individuals to handle the existing problem of inadequacy of subsistence benefit. "That budget inevitably reflects the realities of today's Estonia. On the one hand, the 2004 state budget values the social sphere more than the budgets of previous years, but on the other hand, it is clear that we cannot find resources for all serious needs yet. Therefore, our political forces in future must definitely continue their work to find solutions concerning the amount of subsistence benefits. However, I am confident that now it is better for Estonia to enter the new year with an adopted state budget," President Rüütel added.

Public Relations Unit of the Office of the President
Kadriorg, December 29, 2003

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