Estonian PM: European Council president plays important role in maintaining Europe's unity

  • 2019-10-16
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN – Estonian Prime Minister Juri Ratas on Tuesday met with future President of the European Council Charles Michel in Tallinn and discussed issues facing Europe, noting that the president of the European Council has a significant role to play in creating and maintaining unity in Europe.

According to Ratas, the work of the member states of the EU will be framed over the next few years by a jointly agreed strategic action plan, government spokespeople said.

"This raises big questions that we need to answer together with all the member states. These include the security and well-being of Europeans, the climate and the environment, economic growth and the protection of European values worldwide. This means that, in the coming years, we will focus foremost on what is important to our people," the prime minister said.

Ratas also named Brexit as an example of a great challenge.

The prime minister said he considers important unity and strong cooperation between EU member states. "The president of the European Council has an important role to play in creating and maintaining European unity," Ratas said.

According to Ratas, one of the most important tasks in the near future is to agree on the future long-term budget of the European Union. "The budget plan indicates what we want the common future to look like. In the next budget, the European Union must support reforms and investments into the future, but also the usual common policies on issues related to science, the internal market, cohesion and agriculture," the prime minister said.

Ratas said that the future is increasingly determined by climate issues. The EU is a spokesperson for climate issues in the entire world. "Estonia has joined countries that support achieving climate neutrality in the European Union by 2050. For us, climate neutrality is a challenge for the energy sector. However, this will mean a thorough change in the whole of Europe. We must be prepared to also deal with complex issues as well as think about social justice when making the climate turn," the prime minister said.

The prime minister also said that the development of the union's competitiveness and the development of the information society is very important for Estonia in the EU. "This will help welfare reach all people. This is why we need to pay more attention to an efficient and evolving internal market and move beyond what was agreed at the Tallinn Digital Summit two years ago," Ratas said.