European Parliament’s budgetary control committee supports Parts
The European Parliament’s budgetary control committee heard former Estonian prime minister and minister Juhan Parts (IRL) on Monday, who is the government’s candidate for the European Court of Auditors. Parts had to answer questions about the Ermamaa case as well as state aid for the former national carrier Estonian Air.
Parts was asked right at the beginning how he justified the Estonian state’s financial help for Estonian Air, which was later found to have been in violation of European Union market law. He explained the case in detail, and insisted once again that what happened had not been fraud, and neither had it been a conscious violation of the EU’s laws regulating competition in the domestic market.
The committee also wanted to know about the case of the support granted to OÜ Ermamaa, the company of former Estonian president Toomas Hendrik Ilves. Parts explained the financial matters involved, also adding that though he did have a personal opinion, he was only presenting the committee with the facts of the case.
Apart from references to bigger and smaller domestic scandals, Parts was asked several times why Estonia didn’t nominate a woman. As Estonia’s representative at the European Court of Auditors, Parts is the replacement for President Kersti Kaljulaid, who had spent 12 years in this capacity before she was elected president of Estonia in early November this year.
Parts said that if confirmed as Estonia’s representative, he would leave the leadership and council of his party, the Pro Patria and Res Publica Union (IRL).
“This is elementary, of course. Independence is at the core of this institution, and also has to be the most important thing to its members,” Parts said.
Parts’ candidacy was supported by the budgetary control committee with 15 to 5 votes. The next steps now are his confirmation by the plenum of the European Parliament, which will take place in Strasbourg next week, and a positive decision by the governments of the European Union. Parts’ candidacy isn’t expected to meet with a lot of resistance by any of them.
Parts was selected as Estonia’s representative at the European Court of Auditors by the previous government under Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas to replace Kersti Kaljulaid, who had just been elected President of the Republic.