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Ratas in Brussels: EU going ahead dealing with digital issues

Ratas talking to French president Emmanuel Macron (left).
Ratas talking to French president Emmanuel Macron (left). Source: (Tauno Tõhk/EU2017EE)

Following the first day of the European Council meeting in Brussels, Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center) said that the European Union is steadily moving forward with digital topics following the Tallinn Digital Summit held three weeks ago.

On Thursday EU heads of state and government discussed the aims adopted at the Tallinn Digital Summit in further detail, and reaffirmed that they want to go ahead with the development of a digital Europe.

Ratas said that Estonia as the current holder of the presidency of the Council of the European Union wants to get to an agreement between the council and the European Parliament on at least three important legislative issues: geoblocking, audiovisual media, and the cross-border delivery of parcels.

“By summer 2018 we need to agree on the free movement of data, and we are making an effort to move forward with other important single digital market issues like copyrights,” Ratas said, adding that the union’s ministers holding their countries’ digital portfolios would meet on Oct. 24 to discuss how to move forward, especially in terms of the development of cybersecurity.

“We are ready to start negotiations with the European Parliament on the development of 5G networks. The data transmission speeds of a 5G network allow for the fast transmission of large amounts of data, and among other things also support the use of driverless vehicles,” Ratas said.

In addition to progress concerning draft legislation for the digital single market, Ratas said he appreciated the meaningful debate surrounding the issue of taxation. Officials agree that outdated tax regulation needs to be updated to match the requirements of the digital era.

Another topic discussed was migration. “We are making an effort to find solutions to all questions concerning migration, and it is important that there is solidarity in the European Union. Migration pressure is not a key issue for just a few countries, but for all of the European Union. Estonia has already contributed €1.45 million to the EU Trust Fund for Africa. Many member states expressed their readiness today to provide additional funding,” Ratas said.

The prime minister also added that cooperation with migrants’ countries of origin as well as popular transit countries was showing first signs of success. “Cooperation with Turkey has been very effective, migration flows from there have decreased by over 90 percent, and the Central Mediterranean migration route is also under better control thanks to cooperation with Libya,” Ratas said.

Ratas also commented on the situation in Turkey, and the state of relations between the country and the EU. “The situation of human rights, media freedom, and democracy in Turkey is still a cause for concern, but it is an important strategic partner both for the European Union and Estonia. It is in our interest that Turkey is democratic and stable, and that integration with the European Union is be a beacon for reforms,” Ratas said.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

Source: BNS, ERR

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