Minister of Finance proposes recalling MPs from state company supervisory boards
Minister of Finance Sven Sester (IRL) has submitted a proposal to the government to recall MPs appointed to the supervisory boards of state-owned companies in order to eliminate potential conflicts with the Constitution.
"In light of the opinion of the Chancellor of Justice that as things stand now, members of the Riigikogu should not be members of the supervisory boards of companies, I am submitting a proposal to the government to come back to this subject and bring the actions of the state into conformity with the law," Sester told BNS on Friday.
In accordance with the proposal, all MPs representing the interests of the state on the supervisory boards of state-owned companies as well as foundations established by the state will be recalled from the supervisory bodies within one week of the government's approval of the decision.
"Then-Chancellor of Justice Allar Jõks issued the opinion in 2008 already that an MP belonging to a government-invested company runs counter to both the principles of incompatibility of offices and of separation and balance of powers," Sester recalled. "That the opinins of both Allar Jõks and the current Chancellor of Justice, Ülle Madise, are similar on this demonstrates the fact that this issue needs to be fixed, and that there can be no ambiguity anymore."
The two Chancellors of Justice have said that the government being subordinate to the Riigikogu and yet having power over members thereof who have been appointed to these supervisory boards may conflict with the Constitution.
"If MPs can be members of government-invested companies and foundations, the executive powers [there] can offer them substantial rights, opportunities and benefits and strip an MP of them at any time," Madise said in September. "Influencing like this may undermine [their] independence and cannot be permitted in view of the separation of powers."
The Cabinet failed to reach an agreement on the matter on July 7 and pledged to return to it later. The three members of the ruling coalition also have different approaches to the matter, with the Reform Party appointing its MPs to supervisory boards but the Pro Patria and Res Publica Union (IRL) and Social Democratic Party (SDE) not following suit.
Currently, a total of 12 MPs sit on the boards of 10 state-held companies, and 25 MPs on the boards of 18 state-established foundations; the latter includes four MPs appointed to the supervisory board of the Environmental Investment Center (KIK) by the Riigikogu itself.