TALLINN - Estonian Minister of Foreign Affairs Margus Tsahkna, who attended the EU's General Affairs Council in Luxembourg on Tuesday and provided an overview of the rule of law in Estonia, affirmed that Estonia will end the practice of allocating regional investments, or so-called "roof monies."
The Rule of Law Dialogue is an annual discussion where EU member states provide an overview of developments in the rule of law over the past year. The main goal of the discussion is to share best practices and strengthen the rule of law.
While giving his overview, Tsahkna expressed satisfaction that there are no major deficiencies in the rule of law in Estonia and that progress has been made with the recommendations provided by the European Commission.
"One of the European Commission's suggestions for improving the rule of law last year was that we should implement European standards on funding for civil society more effectively," he said.
"The current government has decided that from next year on, 'roof monies' will no longer be paid to civil society organizations, as their distribution is not transparent and is thus in contradiction with good governance practices."
Tsahkna added that Estonia will continue to work towards preventing conflicts of interest and increasing access to information, which were also included in the European Commission's recommendations for improving the rule of law.
The future of Europe, including enlargement policy, was also discussed. Tsahkna said that it is important to analyze how the admission of new members might affect the EU.
"This way, we are better prepared for EU enlargement and its implications," he said, adding that he supports adapting the EU for enlargement within the possibilities of the current treaties. "However, this should not prevent the initiation of accession negotiations with potential new member states, including Ukraine. A step towards EU membership also provides Ukraine with an incentive to focus on implementing important reforms."
The possible addition of new EU working languages and preparations for the European Council taking place on Oct. 26-27 were also discussed.