TALLINN - The Estonian government is planning to make Kadri Simson its candidate for EU commissioner despite objections by EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, who said earlier this month that appointing commissioners for just a number of months doesn't make sense, the English-language news portal of public broadcaster ERR reported.
"Estonia is of the opinion that all member states need to be represented equally in the European Commission," government press spokeswoman Mariann Sudakov told ERR.
"The government as well as the Riigikogu have approved Kadri Simson's candidacy for the next European Commission as well as for the replacement of Andrus Ansip after he leaves to join the European Parliament," Sudakov added.
Juncker said in an interview with German paper "Bild" on June 2 this year that he would prefer member states didn't send replacement commissioners before the start of the next term proper. The reason for this opinion, Juncker said, is that taking on replacements is extremely expensive, and that the people coming in for just a few months hardly have the time they would need to familiarize with their field.
Juncker said the appointment of temporary commissioners "would cost the European taxpayer a million euro per commissioner, for relocation, staff and the lifelong pension which every commissioner gets, no matter how long he or she has been in office, because the member states have decided that this is so. I'm trying to stop this."
Juncker has also said that he likely won't assign the replacement EU Commission members to any specific portfolio for the same reason.
The EU's heads of government have since disagreed with the proposal formally tabled by Juncker last week.
"The president of the European Commission has expressed to the Council of the EU his stance not to substitute the commissioners who are going to the European Parliament. The ambassadors of the member states handled it on Wednesday. The ambassador of Estonia expressed the stance that under the EU Treaties, each member state has the right to a Commission member," Sudakov added.