Prime Minister Andrus Ansip gave an overview of the activities of the Government of the Republic in implementing the European Union policies. According to the Prime Minister, the emphasis of the debate was laid on the further developments of the European Union and Estonia’s positions on the future of Europe; this is backed by the European Union policy for the next four years, as elaborated by the Government. Consulted parties included committees and factions of the Riigikogu, as well as other stakeholders and NGOs.
„At the moment, the most important challenge facing the European Union is to reach an agreement on the contents of the Reform Treaty,” Mr Ansip stressed. After its entry into force, the Treaty will provide a framework for the European Union for the upcoming years. According to Mr Ansip, the entry into force of the Treaty should end the debates on the internal organisation of the work in the EU or on the impossibility of further enlargement, which means that we can concentrate on the actual problems, such as energy policy, climate change, economic progress, etc. The Prime Minister hopes that the entry into force of the Treaty leads, first and foremost, to EU’s improved capacity in the field of common foreign and security policy. The Reform Treaty also assigns a much more important role to national parliaments in shaping European Union decisions. The desired signing of the treaty in December does not mean that it will enter into force immediately: it must be ratified in the 27 Member States.
The Prime Minister emphasised the debate in energy policy, which should help to solve issues of ensuring energy security while avoiding excessive pressure on the environment and dependency on import in unstable regions. Mr. Ansip: „One of the pivotal topics of the next four years will be the European Union budget reform. What is the most efficient way of spending the money of the European tax payers? We must certainly increase funding for foreign activities in order to fortify the voice of Europe in the world – this is the main field which suffers from lack of funds.”
Mr Ansip also stressed the importance of accession to the Schengen Agreement, of joining the Euro-zone, which unfortunately is still way out of our reach, and of economic competitiveness and the consequent improvement of employment rate.
The Chairman of the European Union Affairs Committee Marko Mihkelson and Members of the Riigikogu Mark Soosaar, Enn Eesmaa, Marek Strandberg ja Raivo Järvi took the floor.
On the motion of the Economic Affairs Committee as the leading committee the first reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Gambling Act (76 SE), initiated by the Estonian Centre Party Faction, was concluded. The Bill was sent to the second reading.
Due to the end of the working time of the sitting the deliberation of the Draft Resolution of the Riigikogu on the Formation of the Riigikogu Study Committee to Analyse the Integration Problems in the Society (38 OE), initiated by the Estonian People’s Union Faction, was suspended. The deliberation will be resumed tomorrow.
The verbatim record (in Estonian) can be found at: http://www.riigikogu.ee/?op=steno
The Riigikogu Press Service
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