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Ratas: The future of Europe is digital, Estonia's contribution essential

Prime Minister Jüri Ratas at the two-day European Council on June 22-23.
Prime Minister Jüri Ratas at the two-day European Council on June 22-23. Source: (Triin Oppi/Government Office)

At the European Council on Friday, Prime Minister Jüri Ratas emphasized to his EU colleagues that all global opportunities for digitalization had to be utilized for boosting economic growth and increasing people's welfare.

"Digital issues will also be a prevailing topic during the Estonian presidency of the Council of the European Union, which will start in just eight days," Ratas said in Brussels on Friday according to a government press release. "Therefore I am hapy that my European colleagues are aware of its importance and are ready to move purposefully on with the issues of the Digital Single Market."

He noted that the discussion on this subject would cntinue at the European Union Digital Summit to be held in Tallinn on Sept. 29.

The European Council focused in particular on the implementation of the agreements European leaders had made in Bratislava and Rome. In order to strengthen Europe's global reach and simultaneously enhance Europe's security and defense in today's complicated global situation, the European Council agreed on the need to launch permanent structured cooperation (PESCO) in defense and strengthen the EU's rapid reaction capability.

EU leaders gave unanimous assurance that transatlantic relations and cooperation between the EU and NATO were of key importance to general security in the future, enabling reaction to changing security threats, including hybrid, cyber and terrorist threats. It was also agreed that the fight against terrorism, including against the glorification of terrorism via digital channels, should be improved.

European leaders also agreed on extending sanctions against Russia, as the Russian Federation had not met the obligations it assumed in the Minsk Agreements and has continued to destabilize Ukraine.

The European Council found that progress had been made in resolving the migration crisis, however, and it was decided to continue with discussions on how to manage it.

According to the Estonian prime minister, the European Council confirmed the commitment taken on by member states to implement the Paris Agreement rapidly and to its full extent as well as to lead the global fight against climate change.

"The Paris Agreement will remain the cornerstone of the fight against climate change and it must be implemented," Ratas stated. "The agreement is a key element in modernizing the industry and economy of Europe."

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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