Ratas: Estonia remaining pro-European, new government backing EU
Estonia's course will remain the same in terms of its EU relations, and this is backed by all three coalition parties as well, Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre) said at a meeting of heads of state and government of those countries that have joined the EU since 2004.
That the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) is now part of the government does not change the fact that Estonia will continue to be a "pro-European" country, Ratas said.
Commitment to EU part of Centre, EKRE, Isamaa coalition agreement
"Estonia's government today remains pro-European and supports the European Union," the prime minister told ERR later on Wednesday. "That's also in the coalition agreement." This means that all those claims are false that the new government will want to change Estonia's course in terms of its EU politics, he added.
Ratas also said that Estonia supports the European Union as an organization of member states, not as a United States of Europe or a federal state in any form, as this is what the Estonian people had voted for when they decided on their country's accession to the EU.
European leaders need to do better work explaining decisions, advantages of EU
According to the prime minister, it is up to the leaders of European countries to better explain what the people stand to gain from the union. This has to include talking about values as well as opportunities, Ratas said.
"The member states are working together to improve the lives of all Europeans," Ratas said. "The advantages and opportunities of the single market, free movement of persons and common budget have become something our people take for granted." The upcoming European elections are a good opportunity to remind people of these advantages, Ratas added.
Approval of EU among highest across member states
The prime minister also pointed out that the Estonian people's support of the EU remains among the highest across the union's member states. For instance, 88 percent of Estonians think that Estonia gains from being an EU member.
Estonia joined the European Union on May 1, 2004 as one of 10 new member states, along with Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Malta, and Cyprus. Bulgaria and Romania joined in 2007, Croatia followed in 2013.
Editor: Dario Cavegn