Govt approves Estonia's EU policy priorities

  • 2021-12-02
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN – The government at a sitting on Thursday approved the European Union policy priorities of Estonia for the next two years, focusing on the green transition, the digital revolution, and security.

"At the heart of our European Union policy are the people of Estonia -- together, we find solutions to worries, celebrate joy, overcome obstacles, and seize new opportunities," Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said, adding that the goal for the next two years is to stand up for European values and to work for a strong and forward-looking European Union.

"The priority of the government is to make the best possible use of the opportunities of the green transition and innovation to support the development of Estonia, keeping in mind that it would be fair to people and companies. Our European Union policy serves the development of Estonia," Kallas added.

Achieving climate neutrality and the goals set for the coming decade will be at the heart of European Union and Estonian policy-making. It is important for Estonia that the green transition is possible for everyone and takes place at a suitable pace: the green transition must be the green transition of people and create new opportunities. The government aims to promote the use of renewable energy sources and reduce dependence on imported fossil fuels in order to achieve more affordable energy prices, energy security, and environmental protection. In December, the positions of Estonia on the climate proposals of the European Union will be adopted, on the basis of which negotiations on more specific goals and activities will begin in the EU. At the same time, the green policy steering committee of the government is reviewing existing solutions and analyzing the use of new ones to reduce carbon emissions.

In order to accelerate the digital revolution in the European Union, cross-border data management with data interoperability and exchange must be encouraged. All Europeans must be able to use electronic identities and e-signatures across borders to simplify matters. Together with the new European Digital Identity Pocket, it provides an opportunity to speed up data exchange and simplify the verification of various documents such as the EU Health Insurance Card or qualifications in other countries. It is also important for Estonia that after the digital revolution, workers are guaranteed social protection and occupational safety, taking into account the needs of innovative business models.

Estonia will also focus on enhancing the surveillance and protection of the external borders of the Schengen area and developing police and judicial cooperation to ensure high security and free movement within the Schengen area. In establishing the foundations of the European Security Policy (the so-called Strategic Compass), the main goal of Estonia is to ensure the central role of NATO and the transatlantic allies in ensuring European security and defense. Estonia will continue to work on bringing a comprehensive approach to security to the European level in order to bring together, in addition to traditional defense policies, resilience to hybrid threats, economic and energy security, and limiting the influence of third countries.