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Ratas introduces presidency priorities to European Parliament

Ratas speaking to the European Parliament, July 5, 2017.
Ratas speaking to the European Parliament, July 5, 2017. Source: (European Parliament)

Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center) introduced the priorities of the Estonian presidency of the EU council to the European Parliament on Wednesday. Ratas said that Estonia's history had shown the country's ability to recognize its opportunities, and that it aspired to do the same as the EU council's presiding country.

Ratas said that one of the most important tasks of the presiding member state was to look for common ground between the council, the European Commission, and the European Parliament. No member holding the presidency could be successful alone. Ratas promised close cooperation with the parliament to keep the citizens of the EU in the focus of the union’s efforts.

The EU’s leaders had worked together in Bratislava, Malta, and Rome to find solutions to the union’s problems. There were problems that affected all members, like unemployment, security, migration, and the perceived distance of the European institutions to the people, the prime minister said. The task at hand was to find specific solutions, and to work together to achieve them.

During its presidency, Estonia would concentrate on areas where Europe had not yet realized its full potential, for example cooperation in the areas of digitization, defense, and migration. Ratas expressed hope that the Estonian presidency would be remembered for an optimistic outlook for the future.

Before his address, Ratas met with the European Parliament’s first vice president, Mairead McGuinness (EPP). Ratas introduced McGuinness to Estonia’s e-government system and different digital solutions. The two discussed how these solutions could find broader application at the European level and exchanged thoughts on matters like security, migration, and the future of the EU.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

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