Representatives of Estonia's political parties welcomed the decision of Prime Minister Juri Ratas to establish a committee with State Secretary Taimar Peterkop as chairman to look into the handling of business at the Ministry of Rural Affairs.
ETV's Esimene stuudio debate show on Wednesday evening brought together Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa), Minister of Public Administration Jaak Aab (Centre), MP Siim Pohlak (EKRE), MP Jevgeni Ossinovski (SDE) and MP Urmas Kruuse (Reform Party).
Asked by the host, Pohlak declined to speculate on what conclusions the committee could eventually arrive at.
Reinsalu said the committee was working to find out the truth. "I believe that it was a very mature leadership move by the prime minister to set up such committee," Reinsalu said.
Aab meanwhile said that further decisions can be made based on the findings of the committee. He also said that having such a committee will help to keep emotions at bay.
Ossinovski argued that the real reason for establishing the committee was that Mart Järvik was not suitable for the office of minister of rural affairs.
"This is clear also to the foreign minister and also the prime minister, but since one coalition party does not agree to recall its minister, no other politically acceptable solution was found," Ossinovski said, describing the establishment of the committee as a good thing.
Kruuse compared the establishment of the committee with the establishment of a so-called truth committee by the Centre Party in the past to look into the allocation of money to churches. According to Kruuse, a former minister of agriculture and minister of health and labor, the establishment of the committee demonstrates the prime minister's indecision.
Tasked by the prime minister, Estonian Secretary of State Taimar Peterkop has formed a committee that within 10 days must present conclusions regarding questions that have arisen regarding the area of administration of the Ministry of Rural Affairs.
Peterkop has invited as members of the committee Airi Mikli, adviser at the National Audit Office, Marje Kask, junior adviser at the business environment department of the office of the Chancellor of Justice, and Margus Matt, head of the legal department at the Government Office.
The committee is to present to the prime minister its conclusions regarding the granting of authorization to agricultural registers and information board PRIA, the activity of the former adviser of the rural affairs minister, the movement of information regarding the listeria bacterium case and potential interference in the work of and monitoring by the Veterinary and Food Board and PRIA.
The deadline of the work of the committee is Nov. 23.
Editor: Helen Wright