Riigikogu to host 7 high-level conferences during Estonia's EU presidency
The Board of the Riigikogu has endorsed a proposal to hold a total of seven high-level parliamentary conferences and meetings connected to the Estonian presidency of the Council of the EU in Tallinn during the second half of 2017 and the first half of 2018.
"We in the Riigikogu are planning a busy and serious program for the Estonian presidency in order to provide an effective contribution to tackling European issues," Riigikogu spokespeople quoted President of the Riigikogu Eiki Nestor as saying.
"During our first presidency, we will have to deal with challenges that are essentially new and complicated for the EU," he added.
The Board of the Riigikogu also approved the timeline of events for Estonia's upcoming EU presidency as well as appointed the parliamentary committees responsible for them. The EU Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu was appointed the coordinating committee of the presidency's parliamentary events.
"Estonia has one presidency, and the government and the Riigikogu should complement and support each other's work," Chairman of the EU Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu Kalle Palling said. "For us, the presidency is a great challenge and opportunity. In the selection of themes, we will certainly focus on Estonia's strengths, such as connections, the free movement of data and the sharing economy."
The parliamentary events of the Estonian presidency will begin with a meeting of the chairpoersonce of the Conference of Parliamentary Committees for Union Affairs of Parliaments of the EU (COSAC) in the summer of 2017, the preparation and organization for which the EU Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu will be responsible. The EU Affairs Committee will also be in charge of the COSAC plenary meeting in late fall 2017.
The Interparliamentary Conference for the Common Foreign and Security Policy and the Common Security and Defense Policy, the content and organization for which the Foreign Affairs and National Defence Committees of the Riigikogu will be responsible, will also be held in Tallinn in fall 2017.
A conference of the chairpersons of the economic affairs committees on Europe's transport connections and the Interparliamentary Conference on Stability, Economic Coordination and Governance in the EU will also be held next fall, to be organized by the Economic Affairs Committee and the Finance Committee of the Riigikogu, respectively.
As the Estonian presidency period falls during the second half of the year, Estonia will also be organizing the Conference of Speakers of the EU Parliaments as well as the Meeting of the Secretaries General during the first half of 2018.
Estonia is scheduled to take over the presidency of the EU from Malta in July 2017 and pass it on to Bulgaria six months after that. In preparation for the parliamentary dimension of the presidency, Estonia is cooperating with other members of its presidency trio, Bulgaria and Austria, which will hold the presidency during the first and second half of 2018, respectively.