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Ratas: Estonia will strive to keep EU27 united during Brexit talks

Prime Minister Jüri Ratas with European Chief Negotiator for Brexit Michel Barnier in Tallinn. June 2, 2017.
Prime Minister Jüri Ratas with European Chief Negotiator for Brexit Michel Barnier in Tallinn. June 2, 2017. Source: (Government Office)

Prime Minister Jüri Ratas on Friday met with European Chief Negotiator for Brexit Michel Barnier, who is visiting capitals of EU member states to provide an overview of how negotiations are progressing and the current situation.

"Estonia fully supports the European Commission and Barnier in Article 50 negotiations regarding the U.K.'s exit from the EU," Ratas confirmed.

"Estonia's primary role as the presidency of the Council of the EU in the second half of the year is to keep the EU united and operational," said the Estonian prime minister. "The European Commission has the leading role in U.K. exit negotiations is held by the European Commission, with whom we as the presidency will be fully cooperating."

According to Ratas, the EU is faced with a number of challenges at the same time as member states strive on a daily basis to implement already agreed upon activities. "It is important that Brexit negotiations not damage the EU's abilities in other fields or oversshadow optimism that began to spring up following European leaders' meetings in Bratislava and Rome," he stressed.

In the prime minister's opinion, when it comes to Brexit, it is essential to ensure the interests of citizens and businesss. "We must decrease insecurity resulting from exit negotiations and ultimately [the U.K.'s] exit," he said. "Likewise business-owners must be ensured the preservation of legal certainty."

Ratas expressed hope that the exit negotiations process will go smoothly. "Exit negotiations will begin shortly, however when it comes to the EU and U.K.'s potential relationship in the future, it is in everyone's interests that this relationship be as close as possible," he said.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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