Saturday

17th Feb 2018

Estonian commissioner criticised for political campaign

  • Kallas (r) is tipped to become the next Estonian Prime Minister (Photo: ec.europa.eu)

A group of MEPs has written a letter to European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso asking for the resignation of the Estonian commissioner, Siim Kallas, who is leading political negotiations for the Prime Minister post back home.

According to the EU Treaty, "members of the commission shall neither seek nor take instructions from any government or other institution, body, office or entity. They shall refrain from any action incompatible with their duties or the performance of their tasks."

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Kallas may be in breach of this clause and also of the EU commission's internal Code of Conduct, which says commissioners have to resign or take a leave of absence if they get involved in election campaigns.

The Estonian commissioner on Monday (10 March) is expected to be appointed negotiator to form a new government - if he is successful he will become Prime Minister of Estonia until elections are held next year.

Barroso's spokeswoman told this website that Kallas has informed Barroso of his activities back home but not asked for a leave yet. She expects him to resign only if appointed Prime Minister.

To Indrek Tarand, a Green Estonian MEP who initiated the protest letter, this is a "too flexible interpretation of the Code of Conduct."

"It is clear he keeps the commissioner job as backup, because he is not sure the Estonian parliament will vote for him. But it would be ridiculous if he continued as commissioner after being voted down by the parliament," Tarand told EUobserver.

He also said Kallas is misleading the Estonian public when claiming that the caretaker Prime Minister, Andrus Ansip, who resigned last week to make room for a new leader of the party one year before elections, will automatically replace him as commissioner until the current Barroso commission ends, later this autumn.

"Kallas never mentioned the fact that the candidate for the commission will have to pass the vote of the European Parliament," Tarand said.

The arrangement with Ansip seems obvious, as the outgoing PM in an interview last week with Etv said Kallas would be a good choice for Prime Minister, especially since Estonia is due to take over the rotating EU presidency in 2018.

Ansip also shielded Kallas' against media reports that the commissioner signed over 100 million USD worth of guarantees for unknown purposes back in 1994 when he was governor of the Estonian central bank.

“In my opinion, the plan was to bring more money into Estonia, not vice versa,” Ansip said.

News in Brief

  1. Merkel: Nord Stream 2 pipeline poses 'no danger'
  2. Spanish king in Barcelona next week
  3. Turkey jails journalists for life
  4. Make budget cuts in farm and regional funds, the Dutch say
  5. UN: Hungary's anti-migration bill is 'assault on human rights'
  6. Journalist Deniz Yucel freed in Turkey
  7. New organic farming bill not ready until late spring
  8. Commissioner: Western Balkans in EU is 'obvious'

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership for Human RightsUzbekistan: Investigate Torture of Journalist
  2. EPSUMovie Premiere: 'Up to The Last Drop' - 22 February, Brussels
  3. CESICESI@Noon on ‘Digitalisation & Future of Work: Social Protection For All?’ - March 7
  4. UNICEFExecutive Director's Committment to Tackling Sexual Exploitation and Abuse of Children
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersState of the Nordic Region 2018: Facts, Figures and Rankings of the 74 Regions
  6. Mission of China to the EUDigital Economy Shaping China's Future, Over 30% of GDP
  7. Macedonian Human Rights Movement Int.Suing the Governments of Macedonia and Greece for Changing Macedonia's Name
  8. Dialogue PlatformBeyond the Errors in the War on Terror: How to Fight Global Militarism - 22 February
  9. Swedish EnterprisesHarnessing Globalization- at What Cost? Keynote Speaker Commissioner Malmström
  10. European Friends of ArmeniaSave The Date 28/02: “Nagorno-Karabakh & the EU: 1988-2018”
  11. European Heart NetworkSmart CAP is Triple Win for Economy, Environment and Health
  12. European Free AlllianceEFA Joined the Protest in Aiacciu to Solicit a Dialogue After the Elections

Latest News

  1. EU asks charities to explain anti-abuse measures
  2. ECB, Budget, EU elections This WEEK
  3. EU states stay mute on implementation of mercury bill
  4. Baltic states demand bigger EU budget
  5. Germany raises concerns over Hungary's 'Stop Soros' bills
  6. EU ties Brexit transition talks to divorce agreement
  7. EU divided over Western Balkan enlargement
  8. Facebook and Twitter weak on protecting users, says EU