Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center) and European Commission (EC) president Jean-Claude Juncker discussed the programme of the Estonian presidency of the Council of the European Union on Friday, specifically what could be done to encourage substantial progress.
“Your team is ready, we’ve seen great efforts you’ve made over the last months. We’re in good hands,” Juncker said at the joint press conference following the meeting.
According to Juncker, history has shown that the presidencies of the small member states of the EU are successful. The motto of Estonia’s presidency, “Unity through balance”, went along with the tasks facing the union, Juncker said.
ERR asked Juncker about the language with which the union should address Europe’s young, as the French presidential election had shown that Marine Le Pen gathered the most support among young voters.
Juncker said that the danger of right-wing extremism was still existent despite the fact that Emmanel Macron had won the French election. He pointed out that Le Pen had received 11 million votes, and that he didn’t believe that her brand of populism and simple solutions would attract a great response among young people in general.
Commenting on language, Juncker said that he tried to use only little technical language.
The issues discussed in Ratas and Juncker’s meeting included two key points of the Estonian presidency: the free movement of data and renewing the EU’s cyber security strategy.
Ratas pointed out at the press conference that Juncker had said already in early May that he expected the Estonian presidency to make “substantial progress” especially concerning digital issues.
“The free movement of data is a precondition for the Digital Single Market,” Ratas said, adding that to make the free movement of data in Europe possible, work was needed to increase trust and security.
Defense policy issues were also part of the meeting, priority areas both for the EC and Estonia.
Editor: Dario Cavegn