Estonian Presidency Briefing with Ambassador Kaja Tael
On 13 July 2017 the European Movement International organised a private briefing to introduce the priorities of the Estonian presidency of the Council of the European Union.
Ambassador Kaja Tael, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Estonia to the EU, gave participants an overview of the programme of the Estonian government for the 6-month term of its presidency and pointed out upcoming challenges and opportunities.
Among the priorities, Ambassador Tael touched upon areas such as the European single market, security and border management, fostering a sustainable and inclusive Europe, gender equality, climate action and the digital agenda.
— Petros Fassoulas (@PetrosFassoulas) July 13, 2017
Regarding the single market, the Ambassador reminded attendees of the remaining trade barriers that the EU needs to overcome within its borders and stressed the need for an innovative, open and connected Europe. At the same time, she stated that the EU needs to ensure that trade is fair and properly regulated and added that although TTIP is now off the table, the EU should nonetheless maintain a close transatlantic relationship and secure trade agreements with other countries.
Another priority being security, migration and the protection of external borders, Ambassador Tael gave assurances that Estonia would build on the work achieved by their predecessor Malta in improving security as well as the management of the situation in the Mediterranean and working on the cooperation with Libya. Ambassador Tael highlighted that Estonia aims to focus in particular on IT-based solutions, such as improving databases and the exchange of information.
With a digital Europe being a further priority of the Estonian and subsequent presidencies, the Ambassador emphasised the need to focus on the establishment of a digital single market, the removal of persisting barriers to e-commerce, the development of the European data economy and review of cyber-security policies.
Following the overview of the priorities, participants’ questions covered a wide range of topics, such as EU citizenship rights, Estonia’s response to the Commission’s investment plan and the White Paper on the future of Europe, eurozone reform, trade defence instruments, the free movement of workers, the European Pillar of Social Rights and youth representation.
— European Movement (@EMInternational) July 13, 2017
Ambassador Kaja Tael has been the Permanent Representative of the Republic of Estonia to the EU since August 2016. She was previously the Estonian Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany and has served as Foreign Policy Advisor to the President of Estonia.
From July to December 2017, Estonia holds the presidency of the Council for the first time. The country comes first in a ‘presidency trio’ which will see Bulgaria and Austria leading the Council in 2018.
Take a look at the photos from the event here: