The European Union Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu (Parliament of Estonia) decided to invite Minister of Finance Mart Helme to give explanations to the Committee about the meeting of the Eurogroup in inclusive format, where the positions of the Minister on reforming the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) did not correspond to the mandate received from the European Union Affairs Committee.
“So far, the European Union Affairs Committee has proceeded from the position approved by the Government that the decisions regarding the ESM are made as it is written down in the existing treaty – unanimously, as a general principle. Only in emergency, when the stability of the whole euro area is threatened and the decision is time-critical, qualified majority voting is used,” Chair of the Committee Anneli Ott said. She added that the assessment of crisis situation was based on the analyses of the European Commission and the European Central Bank.
Deputy Chair of the European Union Affairs Committee Riina Sikkut pointed out that abandoning of the unanimity requirement had not been discussed at the meeting of finance ministers last week. “The protective measure of the Single Resolution Fund of the Banking Union, which will be established and the limits of which will be decided unanimously, was discussed. Payments from it are made by a majority vote only in emergency, when the speed of decision-making is decisive. Such decisions can be made only within the framework that has been unanimously established earlier,” Sikkut said.
At its sitting on 10 June, the European Union Affairs Committee supported the positions regarding the ESM reform that had been agreed upon at the sitting of the Government on 22 November 2018. Pursuant to § 1524 of the Riigikogu Rules of Procedure and Internal Rules Act, the European Union Affairs Committee, acting in the name of the Riigikogu, has the right to take a position, and the Government is obligated to adhere to it. If the Government fails to do so, it must at the earliest opportunity explain its reasons to the European Union Affairs Committee.
Today, the European Union Affairs Committee again discussed the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) reform in connection with Estonia’s positions at the coming Euro Summit. Prime Minister Jüri Ratas gave the Committee an overview of Estonia’s positions, and said that Estonia has supported finding a balanced solution in the decision process of ESM loans. In the opinion of the Prime Minister, it should be possible to make the decisions regarding the granting of loans to the Single Resolution Fund in cases of emergency, in a big crisis, sufficiently fast, but taking into account the competences arising from the constitutions of Member States. The European Union Affairs Committee supported the positions of the Government.
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