Greens demand all party finances be made public

Estonian Greens logo.
Estonian Greens logo. Source: Estimaa Rohelised/ERR

The Estonian Greens have requested the release of financial data for all political parties from the Supervisory Committee on Party Financing (ERJK).

The party issued the request for results for the first half of 2019, on the grounds that while its results were published on Sept. 3, no other parties' results were, BNS reports.

The issue is particularly significant since the larger parties receive state subsidies, largely in line with their representation and electoral results.

"The letter of formal notice forwarded by [ERJK chair] Liisa Oviir (SDE) in which she, as ERJK chair, implies that the Estonian Greens should cease their activity due to a deficit of a couple of tens of thousands of net assets is not credible," Greens' leader Züleyxa Izmailova said in a party press release.

"I think that such a proposal is hypocritical as well, since it is known that the debts of political parties living off the state's wallet are tens of times higher than those of the Greens, and are showing no sign of a fall. For example, according to the Social Democratic Party (SDE) general secretary, their budget deficit was more than half a million euros as of March. The Greens do not receive state support, and we have nothing to hide. I think it is perfectly legitimate for all parties' financial data to be public," she added.

The ERJK recently said that the Greens would be better off filing for bankruptcy, rather than paying fines still owed for non-payment of long-term debts, as ordered by a court judgment upheld in June, as well as the debts themselves.

"As the committee only includes parties represented at the Riigikogu, it is not difficult to understand which direction the wind is blowing from," Greens' deputy chair Aleksander Laane said, according to BNS.

"Other parties are disturbed even by the very fact that we exist. They do not like that we are protecting the forest, and fighting against glyphosate and other toxins in our food, water and air. What is more, they are frustrated that the Greens are right once again — continuing to fuel the dependence of the Estonian economy on oil shale is a direct route to poverty. And the parties at the Riigikogu probably even feel that they are out of date and have become a meaningless gang; they have no modern solutions — unlike the Greens — to offer," Laane continued.

The continued use of oil shale in eastern Estonian power stations and other facilities has long been a source of controversy, with even President Kersti Kaljulaid saying in June that its use was a relic of the past.

The Greens paid the state €62,500 this year, the party says, simply to participate in the elections and, unlike the parties represented in the Riigikogu that take the money out of the taxpayer's pocket, the Greens collected this from their members, candidates and supporters.

As a result, the Greens have supported the state budget to a much higher level than the figures that led the ERJK in its letter of formal notice (debts of €46,000-ed.) to suggest the Greens cease their activity.

The Greens, who had Riigikogu seats 2006-2011, polled 1.8 percent of the vote at the March general election, well below the 5 percent threshold needed to get seats. Party spokespersons said earlier in the week that they were looking at a year-long perspective for liquidation processes.

The party said that it demands the ERJK publicly reveal the financial status of all parties within five working days.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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