TALLINN - Estonian Prime Minister Juri Ratas is to take part in a meeting of the Friends of Cohesion group bringing together 17 member states of the European Union in the Czech capital Prague on Tuesday to discuss the union's next long-term budget and future of cohesion policy.
Speaking of the EU's next long-term budget for the years 2021-2027, Ratas emphasized the necessity to strengthen the role of cohesion policy compared with the current proposals of the European Commission.
"In order for the European Union to be strong, we need to focus on the development of member states and look to the future. It is in our common interest that the European Union's budget for the next period does not decline. We are working with all member states in order for the wellbeing of our people to grow," the Estonian premier said.
The meeting will bring together the leaders of Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain. The Friends of Cohesion group is planning to adopt a joint statement at Tuesday's meeting.
The purpose of the EU's cohesion policy is to support reforms and investments in member states, integrate the single market and increase the union's competitiveness globally. For that hundreds of thousands of projects are implemented, thousands of which have made contributions to the Estonian society and people. In the current EU budgetary period lasting from 2014-2020, Estonia stands to receive 3.5 billion euros in cohesion policy structural funds, on top of which comes 1.8 billion euros in rural life and fishery subsidies.