The Constitutional Court discusses constitutional control of the state budget at its annual conference
Today, on 8 December, the annual conference of the Constitutional Court is held at the Saeima. The topic chosen for the conference of this year is “ Constitutional Control and the State Budget”. The topic of the conference is examined from the perspective of experience gained by four Member States of the European Union – France, Belgium, the Czech Republic, and Latvia.
The conference was opened by Ināra Mūrniece, the Speaker of the Saeima. In her address she noted that the interaction between the Saeima and the Constitutional Court helped to draft better and more sustainable legislation, which was the basis for public welfare and growth of the State. Ināra Mūrniece underlined that compliance with the principle of a socially responsible state in drafting the State budget law was an indication of a state governed by the rule of law.
Ineta Ziemele, the President of the Constitutional Court, in her speech drew attention to the fact that the Satversme itself defined what a budget compatible with a state governed by the rule of law should be like. She noted that it should ensure both the system of checks-and-balances between the branches of power, ensure protection of fundamental human rights and compliance with the equality principle. Moreover, the state budget should be compatible with the values that characterise the State of Latvia and are included in the Preamble to the Satversme. Ineta Ziemele underscored that the legislator should verify, whether the budget facilitated implementation of the constitutional principles and values that were defined by the Satversme. She expressed the opinion that a state budget, which was based on the values of the Satversme, increased the public trust in the State.
The participants were addressed also by Jānis Vucāns, the Chairman of the Budget and Finance (Taxation) Committee of the Saeima, who upheld the opinions expressed by the previous speakers, in particular, that in the drafting of the budget the principle of a socially responsible sate, which was enshrined in the Satversme, had to be complied with.
In the following session of the conference the key-note speech was given by Jean Gaeremynck, the Counsellor of the State, the President of the Finance Section of the Council of State of France. He provided an extensive overview on the way the draft budget law was planned, discussed and adopted in France, as well as of a posteriori constitutional review of it. In his presentation he underlined that the priorities of the State should be defined and balanced in the draft budget law. The state budget should comply with the basic principles included in the constitution, inter alia, the principle of honesty.
In the framework of the conference, presentations were given also by Jean Spreutels, the President of the Constitutional Court of Belgium, Jiři Zemánek, Justice of the Constitutional Court of the Czech Republic, who shared the experience of their countries by explaining the mechanisms of the constitutional control of the state budget. Jānis Neimanis, the Justice of the Latvian Constitutional Court, Laila Medina, the Deputy State Secretary of Sectoral Policy of the Ministry of Justice, Ilze Tralmaka, Senior Legal Adviser of the Legal Bureau of the Saeima, and Edvards Kušners, the Member of the Council of the Bank of Latvia, also gave presentations at the conference.
The conference was organised by the Constitutional Court in cooperation with the Budget and Finance (Taxation) Committee and the Legal Affairs Committee of the Saeima.
Video of the 1st session of the conference is available here (in English).
Video of the 2nd session of the conference is available here (in English).
Video of the 3rd session of the conference is available here (in English).
Information about the visit of Jean Gaeremynck, the Counsellor of the State, the President of the Finance Section of the Council of State of France, to Latvia has been published on the homepage of the Council of State of France, available here [in French].