The priorities of the EU presidency of Malta, which is scheduled to assume the EU's rotating presidency in January, preceding Estonia's own presidency, largely overlap with the priorities of the latter, which is scheduled for the second half of 2017, Estonian Prime Minister Jüri Ratas said after a meeting with his Maltese counterpart Joseph Muscat in Tallinn on Tuesday.
"Experience from and and the success of the forthcoming Maltese presidency are definitely very important for us, because the better Malta is, the easier it will be for Estonia," Ratas explained. "Especially since the main topics for the EU that we have during our presidency periods will largely overlap. These definitely include invigorating the economy, the labor market, security, the security of EU citizens, the Neighborhood Policy and migration issues.
"After this meeting, we are confident that Estonia will complete the initiatives that Malta will launch during its presidency," Muscat said at the press conference in Tallinn. He said that during its presidency, Malta would like to pay attention to the countries of North Europe as well, and expects that as Malta is a Mediterranean city, Estonia wil likewise not forget the concerns of its fellow allied countries in the south,
Answering a question about Russia, the Maltese Prime Minsiter, who recently visited Mosow, said that his opinion, the EU could not afford to ignore Russia, yet in order for the sanctions to be lifted, Russia must meet specific requirements and respect international law. "But the ball is in Russia's court now," an expert analyst concluded.
It was not the time for closing doors, and the same held true for relations between the EU and Turkey, the Maltese added.
Ratas stated at the meeting with his Maltese colleague that Estonia would follw the Maltese presidency, set will begin in one month, with stepped-up interested and hopes to work closely together with the Malta in order to take over the presidency in June 2017 as soon as possible.
The Estonian head of government said he is confident that despite the small size of the two countries, they willboth past the test of presidency with great success.
Ratas expressed the request for Malta to accept Estonian officials connected with the president into its team as early as possible in order to enable the latter to gain experience participating in the managing processes.
At Tuesday's meeting, Muscat presented Ratas with the action plan for the Maltese presidency and preparations for the EU Malta Summit slated to take place there in in February. Also discussed were the security situation in Europe and the economy, as well as foreign policy, spokespeople for the Estonian government said.
Editor: Editor: Aili Vahtla