PM: Isamaa using friends to make Court of Auditors matter ugly

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Kaja Kallas on
Kaja Kallas on "Terevisioon" Source: ERR

Appointing Estonia's European Court of Auditors (ECA) member is a matter of political agreement between party leaders. It is ugly that Isamaa is using its friends and persons close to it to put strain on the process, Reform leader, Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said on the "Terevisioon" morning show.

The law obligates the government to nominate Estonia's European Court of Auditors member candidate, while the candidate needs to be found and put to the government by the finance minister. We've had eight months to find a suitable candidate, since late last year. How many candidates has Minister of Finance Keit Pentus-Rosimannus presented in that time?

The agreement is always between party leaders. That is how it has always been. It is a political position. It is agreed just like ministerial postings. Because we failed to find an agreement on the level of party chairmen, we decided to put it to a vote. So, everything has been done according to the rules.

The finance minister has presented just one candidate – herself.

Juhan Parts was a sole candidate, as was Kersti Kaljulaid. Kadri Simson was also the sole runner (for European commissioner – ed.).

Juhan Parts was not serving as finance minister at the time. He was an MP.

Yes, but the agreement is up to party chairmen. I do not know whence this quest to find in this [process] something that is not there. Is there a rule somewhere to say the finance minister cannot be a candidate? Is there a ban? There is no such thing.

Legal experts suggest the minister could have violated procedural restrictions.

It was a government decision. What you're suggesting could have merit were the decision up to the minister.

If it was a political agreement, would it not have been possible for Keit Pentus-Rosimannus to temporarily recuse herself?

She was not serving as the finance minister at that moment. The duties were performed by Urmas Kruuse.

For just a few days.

It is a government decision. The nominee is decided by the government, not the finance minister. You can see exactly who voted and how, and Keit Pentus-Rosimannus was not among that number. She was not even... she was not finance minister at the time.

This whole thing is so far-fethced. These things are political agreements. That Isamaa is looking to put strain on this matter, using its friends and so-called close persons in various places, I find ugly. This is how it has always been done and how these agreements have worked.


Kallas: I was holding talks with heads of other parties

Prime Minister Kaja Kallas published a social media post around noon on Monday where she repeatedly emphasized her role in finding Estonia's next European Court of Auditors member and that Minister of Finance Keit Pentus-Rosimannus did not take part in relevant processes.

"I would stress once more than negotiations with heads of other parties were held by me. Keit Pentus-Rosimannus did not participate in those debates."

"The appointment of the ECA member was put on the agenda following my initiative, and I asked the National Audiot Office to comment on Pentus-Rosimannus' nomination.

"Following my initiative, Urmas Kruuse, acting in the capacity of the finance minister, nominated Keit Pentus-Roimannus for the ECA candidacy. Instructions to draw up draft regulation for the government's September 8 sitting came from the Government Office."

"In summary – Keit Pentus-Rosimannus did not participate in political negotiations concerning the ECA candidate. Keit did not enter the topic or her candidacy in the agenda nor did she participate in the sitting where it was discussed."

Several legal experts have suggested that if Keit Pentus-Rosimannus, as Estonia's minister of finance, was involved in preparing the decision, she might have violated procedural restrictions.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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