EU-Commissioner Siim Kallas is Vice-President for Administrative Affairs, Audit and Anti-Fraud.
Mr Siim Kallas has been an active participant in the restoration of Estonian statehood and has served in Estonia as Prime Minister, Minister of Finance, Minister of Foreign Affairs and President of the Central Bank. He has been elected to the Estonian Parliament three times. He also held the position of the Chairman of the Estonian Reform Party since the party’s creation in 1994 until November 2004, after which he became the Honorary Chairman of the party. In May 2004, Mr Kallas was appointed a Member of the European Commission, working in the field of Economic and Monetary Affairs. Since November 2004, Mr Kallas has been Vice-President of the European Commission in charge of Administration, Audit and Anti-fraud.
Mr Siim Kallas graduated cum laude from the Finance and Credit Department of the University of Tartu in 1972. He continued his studies as a post-graduate student until 1975 and is now a Visiting Professor at the University of Tartu.
In the late 1980’s, Mr Kallas was among the first economists in Estonia to introduce the idea of economic independence. As an active proponent of this new thinking, he contributed significantly to shaping Estonia’s economic environment.
In 1991, Mr Kallas was nominated as the President of the Bank of Estonia. He was one of the principal architects of Estonian monetary reform. In 1992, Estonia adopted its own national currency (kroon), which it pegged to the German mark using the currency board mechanism. Thanks to Mr Kallas’ efforts, this bold and unconventional reform succeeded and today serves as an excellent example for transitional economies throughout the world. The Estonian public regards Mr Kallas as “the father of the Estonian kroon”. The currency board regime was paired with the principles of conservative monetary policy and tight fiscal policy, which together continue to form the basis of Estonia’s economic framework. Mr Kallas has consistently been the main defender of these principles and a strong supporter of Estonia’s balanced budget policy.
In 1994, Mr Kallas founded the Reform Party and was elected as its chairman. The Reform Party propagates a liberal-democratic ideology and is a member of the Liberal International.
In 1995, Mr Kallas was elected to the Estonian Parliament and later that year became Minister of Foreign Affairs. Mr Kallas, one of the first architects of Estonia’s European policy, was foreign minister when Estonia applied for membership in the European Union, established its EU co-ordination structures and developed its first Action Plan for EU membership.
In 1999, Mr Kallas was elected to the Estonian Parliament for the second time and was appointed as the Minister of Finance in the new government. He served in this post for three years. As Minister of Finance, he enriched Estonia’s income tax legislation by introducing the principle of a zero rate for corporate taxation on reinvested earnings. This has been a successful instrument in Estonia and has also helped increase interest in Estonia among foreign investors. As Minister of Finance, Mr Kallas was also closely involved in the EU accession negotiations, in particular, in discussions concerning monetary and financial issues.
In 2002, Mr Kallas became Prime Minister of Estonia and served in this post until the national elections in Estonia in 2003. He was Prime Minister at a key stage in Estonia’s development when the country was invited to join NATO and concluded accession negotiations with the European Union. Mr Kallas was closely involved in the final stage of the talks, which came to a successful result thanks to his ability to find the best possible compromises.
In 2003, Mr Kallas was, once again, elected to the Estonian Parliament, where he served as a Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee.
In May 2004, Mr Kallas was appointed a Member of the European Commission, working in the field of Economic and Monetary Affairs. Since November 2004, Mr Kallas has been Vice-President of the European Commission in charge of Administration, Audit and Anti-fraud.
Mr Kallas is very interested in literature, theatre, music and history. He is a devoted cyclist and enjoys playing tennis. He has written numerous articles mainly on economic affairs, foreign policy and politics. His selected articles have been published as a book.