Estonia left out of Commission's EU budget talks

Kadri Simson in the European Parliament.
Kadri Simson in the European Parliament. Source: Aris Oikonomou/AFP/Scanpix

The new European Commission should have begun work at the beginning of November, but the beginning of its term has been delayed by at least a month, as not all new commissioners have yet been approved by the European Parliament. This means a standstill in the EU, and that the new Commission is not participating in EU budget talks. Estonia, meanwhile, has entered its fifth month without a commissioner.

The minority government of Prime Minister Ludovic Orban passed a confidence vote in the Parliament of Romania this week, which was a long-awaited step by Brussels as the government finally named its new candidate for commissioner — MEP Adina-Ioana Valean.

How Romania, Hungary and France's new candidates for commissioner will fare in the European Parliament will depend on how things go moving forward, as will the U.K.'s seat, which British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been in no hurry to fill.

Future Commissioner Kadri Simson told ERR that if everything left to do goes smoothly, i.e. the Parliament hears all three remaining candidates for commissioner and approves them right away, then it is possible that the new Commission will begin work on Dec. 1.

"Naturally that will also have to mean the decision that despite the Brexit delay, the U.K. does not have to appoint a new representative to the Commission," she added.

Simson spent the last week in Estonia. Meanwhile, discussions are underway regarding the EU's complicated next budgetary period.

Ansip: Bad news that Estonia not represented

Former Estonian commissioner Andrus Ansip sees nothing good in the new Commission's delay.

"The fact that the new Commission can't delve into these talks not just in the early stages, but while it's still the right time is not good," Ansip said. "If this is delayed any further, that's pretty bad news for Estonia, because by now it's completely clear that Estonia hasn't had a commissioner of its own for the past five months. But if it stretches into the sixth month, seventh, eight month, as some people are speculating, then I believe that is very bad news for Estonia, because the Commission will be discussing the next budgetary period's budget matters, but Estonia won't be at the table."

According to Simson, these months have been of decisive importance in terms of the next budgetary period.

"It really is very unfortunate that Estonia and Romania are not at the table, which means that receiving information is hampered for us, as many meetings are taking place between commissioners only, and those countries not at the table have to rely on someone else to get any information," she said.

No budget-related agreements are yet on the horizon, however, meaning that the new Commission should nonetheless be left with time to have their say as well.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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