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Estonia expects digital package to emerge as central topic of presidency

Deputy Permanent Representative of Estonia to the EU Clyde Kull.
Deputy Permanent Representative of Estonia to the EU Clyde Kull. Source: (Arno Mikkor/Office of the President)

Estonia expects that digital topics, particularly initiatives concerning the digital single market, along with the environment and energy, will emerge as central to the country's presidency of the Council of the EU, said Deputy Permanent Representative of Estonia to the EU Clyde Kull.

Kull, who is also Estonia's COREPER I envoy, told BNS that legislative initiatives concerning the digital single market will be among the most important topics of the upcoming presidency.

According to Kull, one initiative concerns lifting geoblocking, or location-based restrictions. "We will try and bring this initiative to its conclusion during our presidency and finish negotiations with the Parliament," he said.

The second major set of initiatives in the digital domain has to do with legislation on communications.

"This means everything that should ensure that new technologies function seamlessly: the transition to 5G, expanding wifi networks, the coordination of frequencies with other member states as well as cooperation between regulators and the unification of standards," Kull explained.

The second important package of the Estonian presidency, according to Kull, is everything that pertains to climate and energy. "This is also the most problematic field," he noted.

"This field entails national commitments which all member states should take to achieve the goals set, such as reducing carbon dioxide emissions, using energy more effectively and tapping into renewable energy," explained the official. "These goals in turn are linked with the design of the electricity market, electricity efficiency directives and so on. This is a very large-scale package which includes 12 very contradictory fields, where very different interests collide."

Kull noted that these packages would not be adopted during the six-month Estonian presidency, as the adoption process is a long one.

"We will try to achieve the maximum results possible, and if possible also conclude negotiations on these subjects with the European Parliament," he said. "It is our goal that by the end of next year — before the European Parliament elections in 2019, that is — both the digital single market package as well as the electric energy package will have been adopted."

Kull admitted, however, that events such as the Brexit talks or some other event which may happen in the world or some of the bigger member states may start to overshadow the Estonian presidency.

"This is a danger which absolutely exists," he admitted. "If we look, for instance, at the current state of affairs in the interaction between the EU and the U.K., the starting points are very different. The possibility cannot be ruled out at all that a crisis may erupt in the talks sometime in the fall or late fall."

Editor: Aili Vahtla

Source: BNS

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