The candidacy for Advocate General at the European Court of Justice (ECJ) of Estonian District Judge Madis Ernits has been rejected at the last minute, according to daily Postimees.
This means that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Estonia has to find a replacement candidate in less than a month from now.
"It was a shock, to put it mildly," a source involved in presenting Ernits' candidacy told Postimees when commenting on the decision of the expert committee.
"A better constitutional law and public administration specialist in Estonia than Madis now needs to be found."
Advocate General role
The ECJ is the supreme court of justice in the EU on matters relating to EU law. Each of the current 28 member states appoints one judge to the court; however there are only at present 11 Advocates General, who mainly assist the judges, at any one time, so not every member state is represented at that level.
Estonia was offered a spot on the Advocate General roster last October.
Küllike Jürimäe has represented the country as Judge since 2013.
Advocates General's tasks include deciding on significant issues in Europe such as those affecting taxi-hailing app Uber on the market in Europe, to give one recent example.
Ernits' credentials seemed sound
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs nominated Ernits, administrative judge of the Tartu district court, as Estonia's official candidate.
Mr. Ernits, who had been noted as the best of a very good crop of candidates in a press release when the news came that Estonia was to send someone to the ECJ, had also enjoyed the support of the Supreme Court, former Secretary of State Heiki Loot, the Ministry of Justice and the Chancellor of justice Ülle Madise.
Ernits, 47, has worked as an administrative judge at the Tartu district court since 2012. He obtained his higher education in Germany and held the position of Deputy Chancellor of justice Allar Jõks' tenure as Chancellor.
The express committee responsible for the decision stated what they took to be insufficient general knowledge, a lack of the necessary previous work experience of 20 years required, it is reported. The role, based in Luxembourg, also requires a good working knowledge of the French language.
Among other potential candidates, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Priit Pikamäe expressed to Postimees his interest in applying for the position.
Editor: Andrew Whyte