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Priorities of the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the EU

Unity through balance – that’s the motto of the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the European Union. Europe has plenty of common ground to come together to successfully tackle all the challenges and make the most of all the possibilities that face us today. We must facilitate openness in both our economy and society, while also ensuring safety and security. Estonian presidency’s role is to find a balance between the different views, traditions and interests in Europe today to achieve the best possible outcome for European citizens.

The four priorities of the Estonian Presidency are:

  1. An open and innovative European economy
  2. A safe and secure Europe
  3. A digital Europe and the free movement of data
  4. An inclusive and sustainable Europe

An open and innovative European economy

An open and innovative European economy means developing a business environment that supports knowledge-based growth and competitiveness.

To this end, the Presidency will focus on:

  • protecting and promoting the EU’s four freedoms – free movement of goods, persons, services and capital
  • making sure that providing services and starting a business in the EU is as easy as possible, and advancing trade negotiations
  • creating new funding opportunities for companies and ensuring a stable banking sector
  • establishing a stable and well-functioning electricity market and empowering consumers
  • ensuring fair competition by preventing tax evasion

A safe and secure Europe

Only by acting together and preserving its unity on the global stage can the EU keep its citizens safe and promote peace, prosperity and stability.

To this end, the Presidency will focus on:

  • strengthening the fight against terrorism and organized crime, strengthening the internal security as well as the protection of the EU’s external borders by improving cooperation and using cutting-edge information systems
  • continuing the work tackling the migration crisis and reforming the Common European Asylum System
  • supporting and strengthening relations with Eastern Partnership countries
  • an increase in defense expenditure, developing European defense cooperation and the EU-NATO partnership

A digital Europe and the free movement of data

Europe must exploit the benefits of the technological progress that is resulting in constant change for citizens, businesses and governments.

To this end, the Presidency will focus on:

  • developing cross-border e-commerce and e-services for the benefit of consumers, producers and businesses
  • ensuring modern and secure electronic communications available everywhere across Europe as well as creating a favorable environment for new innovative services
  • advancing cross-border digital public services to facilitate everyday life

An inclusive and sustainable Europe

An inclusive and sustainable Europe supports equal opportunities for high-quality education, employment, access to services and development of skills. A sustainable Europe cares about and is committed to achieving a cleaner environment.

To this end, the Presidency will focus on:

  • modernizing rules in order to promote labor mobility and free movement of persons
  • ensuring equal opportunities in the labour market and social inclusion
  • securing a more sustainable environment

Trio Programme – EE, BG, AT

Member states holding three successive presidencies of the Council of the European Union, a trio Presidency, work together over an 18-month period, on the basis of a common programme.

The Trio Programme of Estonia, Bulgaria and Austria was officially approved on 20 June 2017 in the General Affairs Council. Estonia holds the presidency in the second half of 2017, then Bulgaria takes over, followed by Austria.

The advantages of the trio Presidency are that it facilitates a smoother transition between rotating presidencies, and promotes shared long-term priorities through a common programme. This fosters a shared understanding behind important themes and decisions.

Working as a trio Presidency also means that the three member states have the opportunity to learn about each other and to work together closely, thus strengthening the EU as a whole. The trio Presidency cooperates to perform the tasks entrusted to it in the Trio Programme.

Source: EU2017.ee

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