Estonia's EU presidency committee adopts new schedule
During an extraordinary meeting held on Monday, the committee preparing for Estonia's presidency of the Council of the EU discussed updating the schedule of necessary preparations as Estonia's presidency will begin six months sooner than expected following Brexit and the UK's decision to forgo its scheduled presidency during the second half of 2017.
According to the new schedule, Estonia will head the Council of the European Union during the second half of 2017. While at the beginning of last week the team preparing for the presidency thought they had more than 500 days left to prepare, by yesterday's meeting it was clear that Estonia in fact had only 334 days left.
Primary topics discussed by the committee on Monday included the new timetable of preparations, accelerating personnel recruitment as well as a new list of the main high-level events planned for the presidency period.
In September, representatives of three consecutive presidencies are slated to meet in order to discuss topics of the trio program; Estonia belongs to a trio together with the succeeding presidencies of Bulgaria and Austria.
The initial draft of Estonia's presidency program is to be ready by the end of the year, when it will be introduced to the Estonian government. Thereafter discussions will continue in parliamentary committees, and in early spring 2017 the program should reach the public for discussion. The Estonian government is to adopt the program in June 2017.
According to the new schedule, 11 ministerial meetings and up to seven high-level conferences are planned to take place during the second half of 2017. The plan also includes four high-level Riigikogu events. The initial schedule of events is expected to be ready by the end of November.
Recruitment for positions connected to the presidency will be carried out earlier than initially planned, and are slated to be completed by the beginning of 2017 at the latest. Training is also to take place sooner and at a more accelerated pace than initially planned.
The presidency committee's next meeting is scheduled to take place at the beginning of September.