Prime Minister Juri Ratas (Center) met European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in Brussels on Tuesday, where they discussed the European Green Deal, EU digital development and the forthcoming long-term budget. Ratas also met other commission leaders and commissioners, including Estonia's own Kadri Simson.
Ratas said implementing the European Green Deal will be a challenge, but will also offer ample opportunities.
"The Green Deal provides a good foundation for working towards achieving the climate neutrality goal that the European Union has set for 2050; a green turnaround cannot be carried out without a digital turnaround. For instance, we need to start using environment-friendly IT solutions and make better use of environmental data," Ratas said.
Ratas also said the 2021-2027 EU long-term budget plan must support member states in meeting climate goals.
"Estonia also wants the oil shale mining to be treated on an equal footing with the coal industry, in the Just Transition Fund, in the interests of people working in the energy sector in Ida Viru County," Ratas said, echoing comments he made after meeting President of the European Council Charles Michel, also on Tuesday.
The prime minister also met European Commission vice presidents Margrethe Vestager and Frans Timmermans, Estonia's own European Commissioner Kadri Simson, and Economy Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni.
Ratas discussed the synchronization of the Baltic electricity systems with Europe, plus Estonia's interest in developing offshore wind farms via regional cooperation, during the meeting with Kadri Simson, who holds the energy portfolio.
"The transition to climate-friendly energy production and energy independence will definitely be one of the biggest challenges over the next few years. Europe's continued support for the completion of these projects is certainly very important," Ratas commented.
Ratas also emphasized the need to make it easier for companies to operate on the internal market, with reference to the European single market and digital development. A European digital identity is needed to help with this, Ratas added, giving the example of digital signatures in Estonia, which he said save five working days every year.
Ratas and commissioner for the economy Paolo Gentiloni discussed taxation of the digital economy, a review of the taxation of energy within the European Green Deal framework and the proposal for a carbon border measure, according to BNS.
Editor: Andrew Whyte