Estonia to adopt more modest behavior ahead of upcoming EU presidency

The flags of Estonia and the EU outside of the Government Office in Tallinn. Source: Tauno Tõhk/Government Office

Estonia will be changing its behavior in connection with its forthcoming EU presidency, adopting a policy of "silence" for the six months leading up to it in which the country will seek to avoid major confrontations with other member states of the EU.

As Estonia officially became the incoming presidency of the Council of the EU at the beginning of the new year, it must behave somewhat differently than usual in this role, the Cabinet decided on Thursday.

"In the work of the Council of the EU, we will continue presenting our positions until the start of the presidency, but unlike what has been the case so far, when presenting and defending our positions we must consider how they will affect our future role as a neutral mediator," reads a decision endorsed by the government.

The decision states that in order to have a uniform practice in place, the general principles for this must be agreed upon by the Cabinet.

For example, it was found that on topics where Estonia has especially significant interests or which are especially sensitive for it, wording must be chosen with particular care and the degree of demanding toned down. In order to protect Estonia's interests, bilateral collaboration with institutions or member states with similar thinking is preferable, it stands in the document obtained by BNS.

The document also states that, generally speaking, Estonia will not join in on the letters and appeals of groups of member states, especially negative ones, during the first half of 2017. In the work of groups of similarly-thinking member states, Estonia in its capacity as the incoming president of the Council of the EU will participate as a listener and silent supporter.

Representatives of Estonia may speak up more freely on subjects which the current Maltese presidency will definitely conclude or where Estonia wishes to help Malta by supporting their approach.

Estonia will president of the Council of the EU in the second half of 2017.

Editor: Editor: Aili Vahtla

Source: BNS

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