Government presents summaries of Estonia's EU presidency

The flags of Estonia and the EU outside of the Government Office in Tallinn. Source: Tauno Tõhk/Government Office

The Estonian government at its Thursday cabinet meeting presented summaries of Estonia's 2017 presidency of the Council of the EU and confirmed the reviews of ministries in the form of a resolution of the session of the Government of the Republic.

Speaking at the cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Jüri Ratas emphasized that the presidency period was a special one, during which all participants performed heir work with great dedication, according to a government press release.

"Thank you to everyone who helped lead Estonia's presidency and contributed to its preparation," Ratas said. "Estonia helped the EU move forward in all of the objectives that it set for itself. Important developments took place, for example, in the digital, security, more open economy and Eastern Partnership fields. I believe that we were able, in cooperation with dozens of partners, to show our innovativeness in terms of the content as well as the form of our presidency. This is a very important achievement which will continue to bring benefits to us in the future."

The prime minister also welcomed the fact that, during its presidency, Estonia was able to prove itself to the EU, which also grew closer to the Estonian people. "Surveys show that, during our presidency, the support of the Estonian population for EU membership grew to 79 percent," he noted.

A total of 377 drafts were worked on during the Estonian presidency, which ran from July 1 through Dec. 31, 2017. Estonia's priorities were a Europe with an open and innovative economy, a secure and protected Europe, a digital Europe and the free movement of data, as well as an inclusive and sustainable Europe.

It was also noted on Thursday that Estonia's EU presidency left a digital footprint on the union. During its presidency, Estonia prompted a discussion on how best to harness technological development for the benefit of the general public. Among topics agreed upon or significant steps forward taken during Estonia's presidency were the free movement of data, the end of geo-blocking, the development of a 5G network, a common digital gateway for citizens' communication with the state and the EU, and a cyber security strategy.

Other key achievements during the Estonian presidency included the initiation of deeper defense cooperation in the form of Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) as well as agreements on how to fulfill obligations assumed with the Paris Agreement and a climate package setting obligations and a framework for fulfilling climate objectives for the year 2030.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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