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Ratas, Portuguese prime minister meet in Lisbon

Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center) with Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa in Lisbon on Wednesday. Nov. 8, 2017.
Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center) with Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa in Lisbon on Wednesday. Nov. 8, 2017. Source: (Jürgen Randma/Government Office)

Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center) met with Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa in Lisbon on Wednesday, where the discussion centered primarily on the current affairs of the ongoing Estonian presidency of the Council of the EU.

"The European Union must simultaneously deal with long-term strategic issues, such as technological development, energy security, climate change, or old and new threats around Europe, and offer faster, more tangible changes that improve the everyday lives of people," Ratas said according to a government press release. "For example, we need to agree on how to prohibit restricting access to products and services in e-shops and obligate them to recognize all payment methods to make competition fairer and provide a wider selection of choices."

Also discussed were the expected launch of the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) during the Estonian EU presidency, migration, and contributions to the EU Trust Fund for Africa. According to the Estonian prime minister, it is vital to maintain the unity of EU member states in discussions as well as to avoid a multi-speed Europe.

Although less than two months remain until the end of the Estonian EU presidency, Ratas noted that several important summits still lie ahead: the Social Summit in Gothenburg next week, as well as Eastern Partnership Summit in Brussels and the EU-Africa Summit in the second half of November. The latter will focus on digital development, e-Government, and job creation. The Euro Summit will take place in December, where Estonia will prioritize strengthening the economic and monetary union and implementing the banking union. The meeting of the European Council, where summaries of the presidency will be made, will also take place in December.

Ratas and Costa agreed that relations between Estonia and Portugal are friendly, but admitted that there is still plenty of room for development in trade. Cooperation between the two countries in the EU and NATO is going well, and Ratas confirmed that he values Portugal's contributions to the security of the Baltic region. 100 Portuguese soldiers are currently serving in Lithuania, and Portugal has also participated in NATO's Baltic Air Policing mission. Ratas emphasized that Estonia has also directed its attention in NATO to the unstable situation in Northern Africa and the Middle East as well as to fighting terrorism.

At their meeting, Ratas expressed hope that Portugal will reestablish an embassy in Tallinn. Currently, the closest Portuguese Embassy is located in Helsinki. For the duration of the Estonian EU presidency, however, Portugal has sent a diplomat to Estonia.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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