Reform MEP: Isamaa petty in opposing finance minister ECA nomination
Isamaa's opposition to the nomination of Finance Minister Keit Pentus-Rosimannus (Reform) to the European Court of Auditors (ECA) is petty, former prime minister and current MEP Andrus Ansip (Reform) says.
Since Reform is the largest party in the coalition, Isamaa cannot have things all its own way, Ansip says, while the post itself is clearly both political and one which an aspiring candidate would need to do something towards getting themselves nominated, rather than sitting around waiting for it, he added.
There was nothing untoward about the manner in which Pentus-Rosimannus was nominated either, Ansip said.
Speaking to investigative weekly Eesti Ekspress (link in Estonian), Ansip, who was prime minister of Estonia 2005-2014, said: "In the case of a political appointments, it is extremely petty to talk about the violation of operating restrictions," referring to the main sticking point as far as critics of Pentus-Rosimannus' appointment see it, that the process was not conducted impartially.
"To get involved in looking at procedures, I don't see anything meaningful in that, it is simply Isamaa's battle to preserve the place for Juhan Parts at any cost."
Parts, also a former prime minister of Estonia, sees his term at the ECA end on December 31.
Expecting any candidate to a top political post to be completely divorced from proceedings was unrealistic, he added.
"I was prime minister for nine years and I have never tried to claim that I did not want to become the prime minister on my own initiative, and that somehow I was forcibly offered and/or appointed to the position by others. It is perfectly acceptable, to me, for one to take a path-oriented approach, to put oneself forward for a post."
Ultimately, Isamaa wanted to retain the seat for one of its own, Ansip added.
"I don't see any political logic in the idea of someone from Isamaa again becoming a candidate for the Estonian seat at the ECA."
"In a situation where Isamaa has received as many ministerial posts in the coalition agreement as the party that won the elections (ie. Reform, in Ansip's view – ed.), has been able to obtain almost everything they wanted in the coalition agreement, then to think that they could also get the ECA post – then why not, one day also the position of (European Commission) commissioner – this speaks of an obsession with size, and not an understanding of political logic," he went on.
Estonia's current European Commissioner, a post Ansip has also held in the past, is Kadri Simson (Center).
Isamaa has 12 Riigikogu seats, Reform 34 and the third coalition partner, the Social Democrats, 10.
SDE backed Pentus-Rosimannus' appointment, announced last week, whereas Isama opposed it.
Two former state prosecutors have cast doubt on the process by which Pentus-Rosimannus was nominated to the ECA post, mainly concerned with the fact that the nomination is a matter for the finance minister, meaning Pentus-Rosimannus was in effect nominating herself for a post – though a workaround was obtained while she was out-of-country on official business; Rural Affairs Minister Urmas Kruuse (Reform) deputized for the finance minister at that time, as per standard practice, and was responsible for formally presenting Pentus-Rosimannus as ECA candidate, to the cabinet.
State Secretary Taimar Peterkop and Auditor General Janar Holm both stated that Pentus-Rosimannus' nomination process had no issues in terms of procedures and regulations.
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Editor: Andrew Whyte
Source: Eesti Ekspress