Prime Minister Ratas: Next goal of EU should be free movement of data

Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center) with President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker.
Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center) with President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker. Source: (Riigikantselei)

Ahead of the 60th anniversary of the Treaties of Rome, Prime Minister Jüri Ratas sent a letter to the Presidents of the European Council and European Commission and Prime Ministers of Malta and Italy emphasizing the need for the EU to remain united, determined and solidary.

"The four fundamental freedoms of Europen can truly function only when the continent is firmly united," Ratas noted in his letter to President of the European Commissin Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Council Donald Tusk, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni and Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, according to a government press release. "This must be one of our main objectives. Striving toward a seamless physical and digital connectivity is in the interest of the whole EU as economic success cannot be separated from the free movement of goods, services, people, capital and knowledge."

The prime minister believes that an internally integrated continent with no energy and transportation islands would allow member states of the EU to enjoy the full benefits of the common market and increase the security of its citizens. According to Ratas, one of the main challenges of the upcoming years would be the rapid development of technology and he found that the EU must take a leading role in managing major technological changes.

"What better way to celebrate 60 years since Rome than by adding another freedom to our catalogue that would enable a true information society — the free movement of data," Ratas suggested to the European leaders.

According to the Estonian prime minister, it is important that while facing many challenges, the EU continue to commit to defense and security. "The EU should set a numerical target on defense spending — 2 percent on GDP," he suggested. "Although in Rome we will focus on the future of the EU with 27 member states, we cannot neglect the war on the borders of the union, terrorism and the migration crisis."

He emphasized that Europe must also increase cooperation with its closest neighbors. "Peaceful, stable and prosperous neighbors are in the vital interests of Europe," he noted.

Ratas also stated that he deemed important bringing Europe closer to its citizens and one way of doing so would be to continue the tradition of meeting in the capitals of Europe, led by President of the European Council Donald Tusk, as has been done in Ypres, Bratislava, Malta and Rome.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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