Ratas in Brussels for European Council meeting ({{commentsTotal}})

Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center).
Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center). Source: (Siim Lõvi/ERR)

Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center) traveled to Brussels on Thursday morning to participate in the final meeting of the European Council to fall within the Estonian presidency period of the Council of the EU, which concludes at the end of December.

"The Council will tackle two important issues this time: tightening defense and security policy, as well as financing migration policy and cooperating with the countries of origin," Ratas said according to a government press release. "We will also discuss how to reduce the gender pay gap, support the development of employees' skills, and strengthen the Erasmus+ program, which supports learning mobility in Europe and cooperation between universities."

On Friday, the focus will be on the future of the eurozone as well as progress in Brexit negotiations.

On Thursday morning, Ratas will summarize the digital agenda of the Estonian EU presidency at a seminar organized by the Estonian presidency team together with the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS).

Prior to the European Council meting, the Estonian prime minister will also meet with his Baltic colleagues and the heads of government of Finland, Sweden and Denmark. As representative of the current presidency of the Council of the EU, Ratas will approve on behalf of 28 member states the priorities of the legislation of the EU for the next two years with a joint declaration together with President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker and President of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani.

On Thursday evening, European leaders will formally approve the permanent structured cooperation (PESCO) on tightening defense and security policy in the EU. Commander of the Estonian Defence Forces (EDF) Gen. Riho Terras will speak on behalf of the member states.

On Friday morning, Ratas is to meet with Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov to discuss the results of and progress made during Estonia's presidency of the EU, which will be handed off to Bulgaria at the end of the year.

Ratas is scheduled to return to Estonia on Friday evening.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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