European ministers discuss rule of law, EU-UK relations, COVID-19 vaccines

  • 2021-04-21
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN – Mart Volmer, deputy secretary general of the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on Tuesday attended the video meeting of European affairs ministers, who discussed rule of law, EU-UK relations, COVID-19 EU coordination, the Conference on the Future of Europe and European Union enlargement.

In the framework of the annual rule of law dialogue, the ministers continued a process launched last November, looking at the state of the rule of law in member states and sharing best practices.

"We believe that digitization contributes to upholding rule of law," Volmer said. "I am convinced we must commit ourselves to this process. It is crucial to develop digital solutions for judicial proceedings in all member states."

Volmer underlined that digitization also helped improve the quality of law enforcement and increase its availability.

"When it comes to the relations of the EU and the United Kingdom, Estonia considers the timely enforcement and legitimate application of the EU-UK trade and cooperation agreement crucial," Volmer said.

At the meeting, the ministers also discussed vaccination and the digital green certificate of the European Union that aims to make cross-border verification of certificates possible. In the long run Estonia considers it essential that the European Union trust framework is compatible with the global one.  

The Portuguese presidency of the Council of the EU briefed the ministers on the enlargement process. Volmer said Estonia supported the Euro-Atlantic integration of the Western Balkans, referring to the close link between the stability and security of the Western Balkans and all of Europe. "Estonia’s enlargement policy has always been about supporting a fair and transparent approach that would ensure that the enlargement policy is credible and trustworthy," Volmer said.

The Portuguese presidency also outlined the preparations for the Conference on the Future of Europe. On April 19, the digital interactive platform of the conference was launched in all official EU languages, allowing citizens as well as institutions to exchange ideas and information on topics they care about. The official opening event of the conference is planned for May 9 in Strasbourg. Volmer said the main goal was to include citizens of the European Union in discussions.