Reform MP Kross: Hire personal assistants for Riigikogu members (4)
Reform Party MP Eerik-Niiles Kross is planning to submit a proposal to change the 2017 budget bill to include money allocated to hiring personal assistants for the members of the Riigikogu. Several MPs from different parliamentary groups supported the move, Kross told ERR on Thursday.
The goal was to increase the Chancellery of the Riigikogu’s spending on human resources by €3m. “In the majority of parliaments in the world the deputies have assistants,” Kross said, adding that he wasn’t thinking about hiring people to pour coffee, but officials to help with legislative work.
Though he was aware that he would probably stir up a public outcry over it, he believed that such personal assistants would make the work of the Riigikogu noticeably more effective.
“There is constant talk about the lean state, and the need to reduce bureaucracy. On the whole I agree with this policy,” Kross said, adding that there really was too much bureaucracy in Estonia. He also understood that matters like MPs’ compensation for car leasing payments and the like were controversial. But the fact that the Chancellery of the Riigikogu itself was underfunded, and its budget determined by a department in the Ministry of Finance, that wasn’t right, Kross said.
“We already have a rubber-stamp kind of image, but often the problem isn’t blindly agreeing to government bills, but that there simply isn’t enough competence and also courage to submit bills ourselves,” Kross said, adding that this was the case despite the fact that MPs had both the right and a duty to come up with their own bills.
Kross pointed to the Finnish parliament, the Eduskunta, as an example. There, assistants had been hired despite criticism, but eventually the image of the parliament had improved because of the more effective work it had been able to do.