Läänemets: PM's active role in PPA chief choice undermines entire ministry

Lauri Läänemets.
Lauri Läänemets. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

According to Minister of the Interior Lauri Läänemets (SDE), it is necessary for the Prime Minister to meet with prospective candidates for the role of Director General of the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA). However, Läänemets believes, that the Prime Minister playing too active a role in the selection process would undermine the entire interior ministry.

Läänemets has proposed the Ministry of the Interior's current undersecretary Veiko Kommusaar for the role of PPA General Director, but is yet to receive the approval of the coalition.

Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) said, that as the current director general's term is not due to end until May, there is no great rush at this stage to identify a replacement.

"Usually, agreements like this are not made amidst such media hype", Kallas said. "Before any agreements are made, the Minister of the Interior comes up with the candidate who already has support. At the moment, this has happened slightly the other way round, he has gone public before these agreements are in place and so that is why these meetings will be later," Kallas explained.

Kallas stressed, that the PPA is a very large organization and that it will be crucial for the incoming chief to know exactly how things work. "It is important in this case, given that the PPA has been dealing with a very large number of crises and has done so very successfully. If the Minister of the Interior wants to bring in a leader from outside, then (that person) also needs to understand what they want to change and what criticisms there are of the way the PPA currently operates," she said.

However, Läänemets said that he did not want to bring in someone from outside to take up the role, pointing out that Kommusaar had a long career in the PPA before becoming interior ministry undersecretary.

"I am comparing the visions, which have been presented to me by different candidates. This does not mean that for someone's vision to be good, something (at the PPA) is necessarily bad or in need of reform," said Läänemets.

"In my view, (Kommusaar's) vision, will allow us to address certain challenges of the future including the ageing of the population, low numbers of police officers and how to fight cybercrime. These are the arguments behind the proposal I have made," said Läänemets.

Läänemets believes, that while it is necessary for the Prime Minister to meet with the candidates for the position of Director General of the PPA, he is surprised at the degree to which Kallas appears to be involved in the selection process.

"To undermine the whole interior ministry - this proposal does not come from the minister alone, it is a choice based on the competence and knowledge of the entire ministry - I don't think this should happen," Läänemets said. "Let's not question the interior ministry's competence at government level. Up to now, crises have been dealt with extremely well," Läänemets said.

Läänemets went on to say, that in order for Kallas to reject a nominee put forward for the role by the Ministry of the Interior, ound arguments need to be presented. "Whether it's because someone didn't like someone previously or because of some other issue - I don't think this should happen. We'll see."

Kommusaar, who Läänemets would like to see take the lead role in the PPA, was not one of the candidates initially considered by the selection committee. Among those whose candidacy has been assessed are deputy PPA directors general Krista Aas and Egert Belichev, as well as Rescue Board head Kuno Tammearu.


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Editor: Michael Cole

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