Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas at the discussion of the matter of significant national importance – with Andrus Ansip listening – at the Parliament of Estonia, 12 June 2014

13.06.2014 | 11:50

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Honourable Parliament of Estonia, 

European Commissioner is certainly one of the most noteworthy international positions where Estonia can propose its candidate. Therefore, I am glad to introduce you, honourable Parliament of Estonia, the candidate for the Commissioner. Following valid legislation, the Government of the Republic is obliged to name the candidate for the Commissioner.  Which requirements have been established for the Commissioner? Article 17(3) of the Lisbon Treaty establishes (I quote):“The Commission’s term of office shall be five years. The members of the Commission shall be chosen on the ground of their general competence and European commitment from persons whose independence is beyond doubt. In carrying out its responsibilities, the Commission shall be completely independent. Without prejudice to article 18 (2), the 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.” (End of quotation.) I am glad that our most long-term Prime Minister, Andrus Ansip, your current colleague at the Parliament of Estonia, who was elected with large voters’ support to the European Parliament, accepted to stand as a candidate to this position, very important from the standpoint of Estonia and Europe. It is difficult to find another candidate from Estonia who would meet the requirements, set by the treaty, better.  A couple of months ago, the chairman of the European Union Affairs Committee, Arto Aas, said very tellingly that Estonia should propose such a Commissioner whose name need not be searched on Google in European capitals. Following the accession to the European Union, the heads of all governments and heads of state meet approximately once a month, and in nine years out of ten, Estonia has been represented by Andrus Ansip. Thus, it is no surprise that European leaders need not google the name and views of Andrus Ansip. He is well known and, what is more, highly valued. That is, when proposing the candidate for the Commissioner, we shall note that the final right of decision does not belong to the Prime Minister or the Government of the Republic. Suitability of the composition of the Commission and the membership candidate is first decided by the candidate for the European Commission President, proposed by the Council and elected by the European Parliament. The Commissioner portfolios are also divided on his proposal. It is only thereafter that the suitability of the candidates is judged in the European Parliament. The composition of the European Commission as a whole is approved by the European Parliament and named by the European Council.  You know Andrus Ansip. You know his views and his commitment. Those who have forgotten, can read again the policies of the European Union, compiled by the government led by him, and recall also the speeches held by Prime Minister Ansip on the topic of the European Union here, in the hall of the Parliament of Estonia. The characteristic foregrounded trait for me is support on a strong and unitary Europe. A strong and actively capable Europe serves also the interests of Estonia.  Neither less significant is the fact that he received a strong mandate from the nation in the newly held elections of the European Parliament.  Finally, I nevertheless emphasise that the Government names the candidate, but it does not mandate or direct them in any way. Pursuant to rules, this cannot and must not be done by the Parliament of Estonia either. Neither before nor after nomination. The Commissioner shall be independent from external pressure and serve the interest of Europe as a whole, including that of Estonia. I sincerely believe that the cooperation of the Government of the Republic and the Parliament of Estonia both with the Commissioner selected from Estonia and other Commissioners will be tight and effective. I would like to share with you what I as the Prime Minister of Estonia expect from the new leaders of European institutions. Above all, I expect both the Member States and the European Union to continue on the course of structural reforms. The political orientation on the stability of the euro-zone shall continue and the Commission cannot allow any tolerance toward non-compliance with the budget rules. The new Commission should continue to connect the energy, communication and transportation systems of Europe as well as the respective markets. In order to restore economic growth, service and digital market shall be developed. Also, a unitary trans-Atlantic economic space shall be created between Europe and the United States. And, finally, we cannot forget the topic of security. The new leaders of Europe have to make adequate decisions from the crises behind the southern and eastern borders of Europe. I wish Andrus Ansip success. 

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