Raul Eamets steps down as Fiscal Council chair

The Bank of Estonia (Eesti Pank) building in Tallinn.
The Bank of Estonia (Eesti Pank) building in Tallinn. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

An academic at the center of controversy over the obtaining of personal data of around 2,000 women in Estonia is stepping down from his position as chair of the Budget Council (Eelarvenõkogu), the Bank of Estonia (Eesti Pank) said on Wednesday.

Raul Eamets has submitted his resignation to the Bank of Estonia.

The Budget Council is an independent advisory board tasked with assessing Estonia's budget policy. 

The Bank of Estonia's Supervisory Board appointed the first composition of the Budget Council on May 14, 2014, to be chaired by Professor Raul Eamets, chair of Economic Theory at the University of Tartu.

Financial expert Andrus Alber was appointed vice-chair.

The Budget Council's site states that its members: "Must display an impeccable reputation, hold at least a master's degree in the field of economics, or an equivalent degree, and have the necessary experience to disburse the duties of the Budget Council."

The council's chair, deputy chair, and four board members are appointed to five-year terms by the Bank of Estonia's board, as proposed by the head of the bank, currently Madis Müller.

Current members are Urmas Varblane, professor of economics at the University of Tartu, Andres Võrk, an analyst at think-tank PRAXIS, Ülo Kaasik, vice president of the Bank of Estonia, and Martti Randveer, head of the central bank's monetary policy and economic research department.

Earlier this week, the University of Tartu's rector, Toomas Asser, terminated the university's employment relationship with Eamets, following news that he had ordered personal data in infringement of regulations and on behalf of a think-tank, Pere Sihtkapital.

The data pertained to 2,000 childless women in Estonia, of whom around 1,000 responded to questions on the issue.

Eamets has informed ERR that he will be appealing the university's decision to fire him.

The Fiscal Council is tasked with providing assessments of the forecasts for the macro economy and state financing, and on the budget strategy and how the goals of the structural budget position of the general government are being achieved, the organization says on its website.

The Fiscal Council meets at least five times a year.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Urmet Kook

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