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Ratas in Brussels for European Council this week

Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre).
Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre). Source: Jürgen Randma/Government Office

Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre) will be in Brussels on Thursday and Friday to take part in the meeting of heads of state and government of the EU, where topics to be discussed include migration, relations with the US, and matters of security, defence, the economy and finance.

On the first day of the European Council, EU leaders will discuss migration and relations between the EU and US, including trade relations, according to a government press release. Also to be discussed with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg is cooperation between the EU and NATO.

Other topics to be discussed on Thursday include the digital area, innovation and taxation, as well as the negotiations schedule of the multiannual EU budget, which will enter into force in 2021. Economic sanctions on Russia are also to be extended for the next six months.

The second day will focus primarily on the current situation of Brexit negotiations, and the summit of the euro area will feature discussions regarding reforms of the economic and Monetary Union (EMU).

"The Council, which will start tomorrow, will focus on migration," Ratas said. "The EU must continue to focus on its external borders, cooperation with third countries, and making returning refugees more efficient. It is important to support member states under the most pressure from migration. We must find a balance and stand united. We will also discuss our relations with the US, including trade issues, which demand increasing attention. It is also important to the defence cooperation of the EU and NATO before the [NATO] summit taking place in July."

Prior to the Council, Ratas, his Latvian and Lithunian colleagues and President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker will sign a political agreement on synchronising the electricity networks of the Baltic states with that of Continental Europe via Poland.

The heads of state and government of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and the three Nordic countries in the EU (Finland, Sweden, Denmark), also known as the NB6, will likewise meet before the Council.

Ratas is scheduled to return to Estonia on Friday evening.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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