Ratas on Tusk: We need pro-European, statesmanly leaders in difficult times ({{commentsTotal}})

Prime Minister Jüri Ratas in Brussels on Thursday. March 9, 2017.
Prime Minister Jüri Ratas in Brussels on Thursday. March 9, 2017. Source: (Ave Tampere/Government Office)

Commenting on the result of the European Council meeting on Thursday, Prime Minister Jüri Ratas said that despite Poland's lack of support of its conclusions, several important issues concerning the future of the EU were discussed.

According to an Estonian government press release, topics of Thursday's Council meeting in Brussels inclluded the election of the President of the European Council, issues concerning economy, security and migration as well as the situation in the Western Balkan countries.

Ratas said that Donald Tusk, who was re-elected as President of the European Council for a second term, is an excellent choice for Estonia, the Baltics and the whole of Europe.

"Support for the re-election of Tusk was very high, as he has proven himself to be a capable leader who stands for a coherent, strong and forward-looking EU," he said. "It is precisely in difficult times that we need pro-European and statesmanly leaders."

According to the prime minister, European growth is showing positive signs, however this does not mean that one should remain resting on one's laurels. "We must carry out the EU Single Market strategies in a fast-paced manner — this especially concerns the Digital Single Market strategy — and resume with structural reforms to ensure that the economic recovery and growth would continue," said Ratas.

On the subject of security, the Estonian head of government said that increasing defense costs and closer cooperation between the EU and NATO collectively serve as a priority for Estonia. "The world around us is changing and Europeans are experiencing an increasing concern for their security," Ratas observed. "The EU's commitment to the European common defense and security policies must find an adequate response to these concerns."

At the Council meeting, EU leaders also discussed the political situation in the Western Balkans, which has recently deteriorated. "This is a serious situation for the EU, as our security is directly dependent upon whether there is peace and stability in our neighborhood or not," Ratas noted.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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