Official: Minister's ECA candidacy process identical to predecessor's

Merike Saks pictured during an interview she gave with ERR in 2021.
Merike Saks pictured during an interview she gave with ERR in 2021. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

The process for submitting the candidacy of Minister of Finance Keit Pentus-Rosimannus (Reform) as Estonia's next representative at the European Court of Auditors (ECA) was procedurally carried out in exactly the same way as the appointment of the current incumbent Juhan Parts, the ministry's secretary general, Merike Saks, says.

Saks said: "As officials, there was nothing special for us regarding this process. Officials often receive instructions on how to formalize such decisions. The fact that there is a political dispute going on behind it, is not something which we would get involved in."

"We check whether everything is formally and legally correct," Saks added.

The fact that Pentus-Rosimannus' nomination was submitted by Minister of Rural Affairs Urmas Kruuse (Reform) was also not anomalous, Saks went on. He was deputizing for the finance minister, who was away at an EU-level meeting, at the time, she said.

Following Pentus-Rosimannus' nomination last week, former State Prosecutor Hristo Evestus claimed via an opinion piece which appeared on ERR's Estonian-language portal that the manner in which the process was handled may not have been in accordance with legislation and regulations, though there is a catch-22 contained within the latter in any case – in that the finance minister must nominate the next ECA candidate, but a state official cannot nominate themselves to a post. The inference then was that Reform had substituted Kruuse for Pentus-Rosimannus, while she was away, as a workaround.

Pentus-Rosimannus herself told ERR that so far as she was aware everything had been conducted by the book, while she was unlikely to be able to be nominated to a post while simultaneously being unaware of that nomination.

Center Party leader Jüri Ratas said Tuesday morning that Pentus-Rosimannus as the potential next ECA representative from Estonia had already been discussed between his party and Reform when the two were in coalition together, which they were until June this year.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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