The European Parliament is to vote on Kadri Simson's (Centre) candidacy as Estonia's next European Commissioner next Thursday.
The parliament's committees have their first meetings on Wednesday (earlier reports stated Tuesday), and include sessions on Simson as commissioner-designate, ERR's online news in Estonian reports, followed by the vote in plenary after these hearings have been officially closed by the parliament's governing Conference of Presidents. The committee gives its opinion on the candidate ahead of voting.
Following a meeting with outgoing commission president Jean-Claude Juncker on Thursday, Simson was green-lighted for the role, though her portfolio has yet to be announced.
Each member state sends a commissioner to Brussels, allocated a specific portfolio. Outgoing commissioner Andrus Ansip (Reform) held the digital single market brief.
Juncker had previously stated his disapproval for short-term commissioners, which Simson by default would be as she would take up her post early. This is because Ansip is stepping down ahead of the end of his stint, which would have been in October, to take up the MEP seat he won at the May European elections.
Had Ansip, who is also outgoing vice-president of the commission, held on as commissioner, the seat would have had to go to another candidate.
However, Simson said in her case, since she would intend to stay on for the next five year term from October, she did not go against Juncker's vision.
The Estonian situation is mirrored by Romania, whose sitting commissioner, Corina Crețu, also won an MEP seat. Mircea Pașcu has been proposed by that country as her immediate replacement.
Juncker himself will step down in October, to be replaced by Ursula von der Leyen of Germany.
The parliamentary vote also requires an official letter from the commission; next week is the last chance to get things squared away before the summer recess, which lasts until mid-September.
Von der Leyen herself had also made announcements which clouded progress somewhat regarding Simson and, in fact, every country's new commissioner, stating that each country should provide a male and a female candidate, in the interests of gender balance. The Estonian government declined to go along with this call. In any event, both of Estonia's previous commissioners (Ansip and Siim Kallas (Reform)) have been men.
Editor: Andrew Whyte