Estonian agency: Järvan becoming minister won't mean conflict of interest

IT and foreign trade minister Kristjan Järvan (Isamaa).
IT and foreign trade minister Kristjan Järvan (Isamaa). Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

This September, Aare Järvan will be taking up a seat as a member of the board of the Estonian Business and Innovation Agency — the merged KredEx and Enterprise Estonia. His son, Kristjan Järvan, was just sworn in Monday as minister of entrepreneurship and information technology (IT). The agency believes, however, that there's no cause for concern over a conflict of interest.

"The contract with Aare Järvan was signed on July 11, i.e. prior to the [selection of] the new government's ministers falling into place," Estonian Business and Innovation Agency communications specialist Egert Puhm said on Tuesday. "Thus, this is indeed yet another example of how small Estonia is, but there is no substantial link there."

Isamaa published its list of candidates for minister, including Kristjan Järvan for minister of entrepreneurship and IT, on July 14.

Puhm noted that several layers of management will nonetheless remain between the father and son in the form of the agency's supervisory board and the chairman of its management board.

"Thus there is no direct subordinate relationship nor does the minister come in contact with a board member at a subordinate institution," she stressed.

"As far as a conflict of interest is more broadly concerned, the principle applies at our foundation that in the case of each decision, the decision-maker must ensure that they do not have a conflict of interest in a particular decision — be that a support decision, a loan or something else," the agency official said. "In such an instance, they must recuse themselves from the decision-making process, and that is standard practice."

Aare Järvan, who had previously served at length as secretary general of the Ministry of Finance, will on September 12 be taking up the position of board member at the Estonian Business and Innovation Agency responsible for financial services.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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