EKRE turns to justice chancellor over EU recovery fund approval

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EKRE MPs at the Riigikogu. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

EKRE's Riigikogu political group turned to the Chancellor of Justice over the government's decision to approve the European Union recovery fund. EKRE assesses that the recovery fund's approval is not in accordance with the constitution, since the imposition of taxes should only be a Riigikogu responsibility.

On Monday, the Riigikogu approved the European Union's coronavirus recovery fund. 63 MPs voted to approve the bill, which was also tied to a vote of confidence.

"We are so closely intertwined with the European economy that our interest is truly that the entire European Union would exit this crisis as strong as possible and that is what this recovery fund is supporting," said Minister of Finance Keit Pentus-Rosimannus (Reform).

The exact amount of funding will become clear in the summer of 2022, when the European Commission is set to calculate the exact support scheme for member states based on their GDP.

EKRE assesses that the decision will bring Estonia unnecessary financial burden and causes a situation where decisions on imposing taxes and making changes to the state budget will depend largely on the European Union.

The party said the decision would have needed two thirds of the Riigikogu votes instead of the 51, as the decision will change constitutional order.

"When this recovery fund was approved on the prime ministerial level last summer, a political decision was approved, but we did not have the regulation itself. We did not have the actual document. The actual document came later. It was 400 pages long, fine and complex financial-legal text and we can only decide if its in accordance with the constitution and our mandate after assessing it," said EKRE chairman Martin Helme.

According to the constitution, laws on state budget and tax imposition are the sole responsibility of the Riigikogu and EKRE said if the constitution is diluted in that manner, the constitutional competence of the Riigikogu will decrease.

EKRE's main gripe with the recovery fund is an imposable plastic tax, which would mean giving up tax sovereignty, according to the party. The coalition (Reform-Center) say the plastic tax is a measure put in place to lessen the use of plastic.

EKRE's political group chairman Henn Põlluaas said the decision must be looked at in accordance with amendments to the constitution made in referendums in 2003, which established clear boundaries for the delegation of sovereignty to the European Union.

Põlluaas noted that delegating decisions away from the Riigikogu is not possible constitutionally and it would require a new mandate.

EKRE's Riigikogu group is asking the Chancellor of Justice to check what the threshold of Riigikogu votes should have been for the recovery fund's approval, to go with handing over a tax prerogative in accordance with the constitution and revoking amendments made in the 2003 referendum.

Opposition parties (EKRE-Social Democratic Party-Isamaa) were not united. SDE chairman Indrek Saar said he supports the recovery fund, Isamaa chairman Helir-Valdor Seeder said the party will not take a position on the topic, because even if there are procedural issues, they do not want to stand in the way of the fund.

The party previously presented 700 amendment proposals to block the recovery fund.

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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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