TALLINN - Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas gave the parliament an overview on Tuesday of the government's activities in implementing the EU policy and of future plans, and said that EU policy priorities serve Estonia's development.
"Estonia's development and the development of the European Union are directly linked. The European Union is just as active as we want it to be -- it is up to us to steer it," Kallas said before the parliament.
She said that topics related to Europe's development are also simultaneously home affairs and that they have a lot of weight.
"This relationship also works in the opposite direction -- issues that are of great national importance for Estonia that reach the Great Hall of the parliament, such as the coronavirus pandemic, prices of fossil energy, climate crisis, forestry strategy, inequality and security, are also topics of European-wide importance," she said.
"Estonia consistently stands up for European values and works towards the voice of the EU having weight and being uniform in the world. We attach great importance to the core freedoms of the Union and the uniform internal market and we continue to promote the free movement of data. Trusted connectivity is a great opportunity for us -- becoming a network grants opportunities for small states and entrepreneurs," she said.
"While cooperation is important, trust based on shared values and principles is even more crucial. It is important for us to increase cooperation and trust but also mutual dependence and solidarity between the allies and partners in Europe," Kallas noted.
These opportunities should be offered to those who favor the rule of law and want to create a future based on trust, the prime minister said.
"We're used to thinking of the European Union as of some regulatory superpower, an enforcer of agreed norms and an intermediary. But Europe is also a project of freedoms, which must not be forgotten, either. We need to stick together to defeat the pandemic and face hybrid threats," she said.
"Our European Union policy priorities for the next few years are supporting Estonia's development through the green and digital transition," the prime minister said.
"We must make use of opportunities posed by the green transition by introducing alternatives that render energy prices more favorable for the end user but also preserve the environment. The green transition is not an obstacle but an opportunity to operate in a smarter and more sustainable way."
Kallas said that the biggest challenge for Estonia and the European Union for the coming decades is implementing the green turnaround by using sustainable energy resources, preserving the environment and ensuring energy security.
"Instead of crippling fear, we should be propelled by a desperate hope when implementing the green transition," the premier said, adding that curiosity about technology and smart implementation of digital technologies are key to achieving the goal.
"Sustainability is our next development opportunity," she added.
"Estonia is not an island that will remain untouched by climate change. We need to think about what price we are to pay if we decide to opt out. Temperatures are rising for us as well and dependence on fossil fuels intensifies, not to mention the new normality where instead of thousands of people, millions or billions of people are working towards ensuring a better living environment," the prime minister added.
"The green transition does not mean prohibiting uninsulated houses, beef burgers, sauna heaters or internal combustion engines. It means that we need to increasingly take into consideration the environmental footprint of our activities," she said.