Prime Minister Jüri Ratas met with Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar on Tuesday in order to discuss the priorities of the upcoming Estonian presidency of the Council of the EU and exchange information on topical issues in the EU and elsewhere.
"Despite the geographical distance, Slovenia is an important partner to Estonia," Ratas said according to a government press release. "There is especially great potential for closer cooperation in the field of ICT, where our interests overlap." The Estonian head of government welcomed Slovenia's constructive contribution to the promotion of Estonia's priorities in the field of digital technology.
In addition to discussing Estonia's priorities for its upcoming EU presidency, Ratas also stressed the importance of the region for Europe's security and stability. "The European perspective for the Western Balkans is a key factor for security, development and stability in the region," he said. "We hope to see these countries join the EU as Slovenia did."
According to the Estonian prime minister, the world and the surrounding security envirnment are alarming and it is abundantly clear that a concentrated effort must be made to ensure security, both in the fight against terrorism and the protection of the external border of the EU. "In difficult times, we sent our police officers to Slovenia's border and now Slovenia has decided to send its troops to the Baltic region," Ratas cited as an example of such security-related cooperation.
The Estonian presidency of the EU is committed to working with issues that help to create and promote an EU with an open and innovative economy, maintain security in Europe, promote and develop a digital Europe — including the free movement of data — and ensure inclusive and sustainable action by the EU. According to Ratas, one of the most important tasks for the Estonian presidency during the second half of 2017 is to maintain unity and determination in the EU.
The head of government of the incoming EU presidency typically visits a number of member states beforehand in order to present and promote the priorities and program of their country's presidency and discuss opportunities for closer cooperation.
On this trip, Ratas has visited Slovakia, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovenia. He is scheduled to return to Estonia on Wednesday afternoon following his visit to Hungary.
Editor: Aili Vahtla