Govt approves Estonia's EU policy priorities for 2023-2025

  • 2023-06-22
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN - The government approved on Thursday Estonia's EU policy principles for the period from 2023 to 2025.

The framework document outlines the main goals and principles that the government will follow when shaping Estonia's policy and protecting its interests in the EU, government spokespeople said.

"With Europe facing Russia's war of aggression, several important agreements have been concluded at Estonia's initiative," Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said, citing as examples the decision by the EU to procure one million shells for Ukraine, grant the status of candidate states to Ukraine and Moldova, and impose a price cap on Russia's crude oil.

"Our visibility and impact grow when we think big and with innovation and manage to gain other member states' support to our initiatives," she added.

"Estonia stands for the elimination of gray areas in Europe. We support the gradual integration of candidate countries into the EU single market. Due to the changed security situation, we must increase the EU's resilience to crises, improve its defense capabilities, and ensure a combat-ready Europe. There are sectors where the EU economy depends on third countries -- for example, in relation to certain raw materials and technologies. We must work towards the EU being able to rely on itself and the partners we can trust in these areas. We also need to improve connections in energy, transport, and communications both in the European Union as a whole as well as in our region," Kallas said.

The focus of Estonia's EU priorities is on foreign, security and defense policy, improving crisis resilience, efficient border and migration policy, sustainable development and competitiveness, including the green and digital transition and energy security. Issues concerning buildings and connections, health, and the principles of open governance and personal state are likewise important.

Estonia is working towards having the implementation of the green and digital transition center around a free-market economy and a functioning internal market where state aid exceptions that distort market operation must be eliminated and the administrative burden reduced. The transition to renewable energy and the free movement of goods, services, individuals, capital, and data are also being emphasized. The need to get the European Union's budget rules in order and strengthen energy, transport, and communication connections has also been highlighted.

In the upcoming period, Estonia will continue to invest in its energy security with EU support, including implementing the synchronization of the Baltic states' electricity networks with Central Europe's frequency area as quickly as possible and continuing the development of offshore wind energy. It is essential to complete the construction of Rail Baltic by 2030 at the latest. EU funds should primarily be used to invest in projects that benefit the entire EU, whether its is building cross-border infrastructure, strengthening the EU's external border, or developing public digital services. Estonia is working to make the European Union's decision-making process transparent and inclusive for all parties and to limit the transposition of directives into national law to what has generally been agreed upon.