Regional competitiveness discussed

  • 2010-03-10
  • By Ella Karapetyan

TALLINN - Foreign Ministry Undersecretary for European Union Affairs Kaja Tael met with Swedish Minister for European Union Affairs Birgitta Ohlsson, who was on a visit in Estonia last week. At their meeting they discussed the Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, the EU’s renewed competitiveness strategy “Europe 2020,” and issues of gender equality.

Tael and Ohlsson both agreed that the Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region is off to a good start, and that Estonia and Sweden’s co-operation is going very smoothly, for example, in concrete projects in the internal market sector. “The goal in the near future is to successfully tie the Strategy to the key policies of the European Union, such as cohesion, regional and budget policies, and also to the common agricultural policy. The Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region is a natural means for implementing the upcoming ‘Europe 2020’ strategy,” said Tael.

Tael explained that the Strategy can, among other things, remove bureaucratic obstacles to regional development that affect things like the realization of the principle of the free movement of goods, services and people. All of this will increase the competitiveness of the entire union. The successful start to the Strategy suggests that regional strategies will be increasingly important in the future.

In talking about the formulation of the renewed strategy for the European Union “Europe 2020,” Estonia clarified its position on how the renewed strategy should, first and foremost, help raise the competitiveness of the EU through further developing the union’s internal market. Ohlsson emphasized the need to include the issue of gender equality in the topic of employment.
Other topics discussed at the meeting were Estonia’s candidacy to be the location for the EU IT agency for justice and home affairs, and EU budgetary reform. Both Estonia and Sweden are of the position that the EU budget requires comprehensive reforming and updating.