President Karis: Long-term EU competitiveness cannot be built on grants
Long-term competitiveness within the European Union cannot be built on grants and state aid, President Alar Karis says.
"Small Member States are at a disadvantage due to their limited resources, but the goal must be that everyone has equal opportunities in the EU's internal market," the head of state said Friday.
This would include state aid, he went on. "Large Member States can provide large amounts of state aid to an extent that small countries cannot compete with," President Karis went on.
"Even if were able to provide state aid, businesses in smaller countries feel that their options here are not as good as those provided to larger companies in larger countries, which are able to provide more aid."
The Estonian president made his remarks in the context of a meeting Friday with Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President for A Europe Fit for the Digital Age and Competition, who is in Estonia on an official visit.
"No one should be in a race for state aid, there must be a level playing field for all," the president added, according to an official press release.
Other topics on the table at the Karis-Vestager summit included reducing the administrative burden on businesses and simplifying the regulatory environment, with the Estonian head of state arguing that automatic digital reporting should be used as much as possible, within the EU.
This would include the reuse and cross-use or pre-existing data, when a reporting obligation is performed, he said.
Margrethe Vestager is responsible for the strategic management of the EU's digital, internal market, industry, including defense, and space policy, as well as competition issues.
She also took part in a panel discussion at the Lennart Meri Conference, the annual flagship security conference hosted in Tallinn and named after Estonia's first post-restoration of independence president.
This panel can be re-watched here.
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Editor: Andrew Whyte