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Secretaries general of national parliaments discuss future of EU

The secretaries general of EU member states' national parliaments met in Tallinn on Monday to discuss the future of the EU. Jan. 29, 2018.
The secretaries general of EU member states' national parliaments met in Tallinn on Monday to discuss the future of the EU. Jan. 29, 2018. Source: (Erik Peinar/Riigikogu)

In order to overcome both internal and external challenges, the EU must be a more united, stronger and more democratic union, the secretaries general of the parliaments of EU member states found at a joint meeting held in the Riigikogu on Monday.

In his welcome address, President of the Riigikogu Eiki Nestor said that the one hundred-year-old Estonia continues to honor and protect common European values, according to a Riigikogu press release. Nestor also pointed out that digital solutions and e-services have become an important part of the Estonian lifestyle, emphasizing that technology helps save time and resources and enables constant and direct communication with citizens.

Secretary General of the Riigikogu Peep Jahilo, who chaired the event, said that the meeting of the secretaries general helped to prepare for the Conference of Speakers of the EU Parliaments, which would likewise be held in Tallinn in April.

The central topics of the Speakers' Conference are to be the future and security of the European Union.

On the subject of the future of the EU, Secretary General of the European Parliament Klaus Welle emphasized that the EU must overcome challenges from all directions around it, while at the same time also facing internal challenges. In Welle's opinion, external threats contribute to the increase of populism and extremism in member states. He highlighted the importance of cooperation between EU countries, as well as the need for ensuring external, internal and social security both inside the union and in its close neighborhood.

Secretary General of the Senate of the Netherlands Geert-Jan Hamilton pointed out in his speech that interparliamentary cooperation had contributed to politically overcoming several crises in the recent years. In his opinion, important steps forward require broad support in both the European Parliament and in EU's respective national parliaments.

The secretaries general also discussed the development of the parliaments' e-services, as well as opportunities and challenges relating to it. Senior Analyst of Estonia's Information System Authority (RIA) Kadri Kaska, who presented a report at the meeting, admitted that in this area, practices and awareness differed by country. Kaska believed that mutual cooperation would be beneficial to the digitalization of the work of parliaments as well as in increasing their security in doing so.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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