TALLINN - Estonian Prime Minister Juri Ratas is to take part in the last European Council meeting of Estonia's presidency of the Council of the European Union.
"There are two urgent topics at this European Council meeting -- strengthening defense and security policy, and funding migration policy and cooperation with countries of origin. We will also discuss how to reduce the gender pay gap and support developing workers' skills as well as how to strengthen cooperation between universities and the Erasmus+ program which supports student exchange. Tomorrow we will focus on the future of the eurozone and the progress of Brexit talks," Ratas was quoted by spokespeople as saying.
On Thursday Ratas will give an overview of the digital topics of Estonia's EU presidency at a seminar which is organized by Estonia's presidency team with the Center for European Policy Studies.
Before the Council meeting Ratas will meet with his Baltic colleagues as well as the heads of government of Finland, Sweden and Denmark. He will also, as EU presidency, confirm the EU's legislative priorities for the next two years with Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and President of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani.
In the evening European leaders will welcome the launch of the permanent structured cooperation (PESCO). Commander of the Estonian defense forces Gen. Riho Terras will speak in the name of member states.
On New Year's Eve Estonia will hand over the EU presidency to Bulgaria. On Friday morning Ratas will meet with Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov to discuss Estonia's presidency experience and results.