Today, President of the Riigikogu (Parliament of Estonia) Jüri Ratas and President of the European Parliament David Sassoli met via a video bridge to discuss the vaccine allocation plan and the Green Digital Certificate that would enable to reopen the free movement of people.
Ratas gave an overview of the pandemic situation and the current state of vaccination in Estonia. “The situation is very serious, we have rather extensive restrictions, like everywhere else in Europe, but thanks to them, the infection rate is declining, and this provides an opportunity to discuss how to start exiting the restrictions,” Ratas said.
Ratas thanked the European Union for its cooperation in the joint procurement of vaccines. “The European Union had done very much and has shown willingness to cooperate,” Ratas said. “The joint procurement of vaccines was a very right decision. The joint pre-purchase agreements gave all Member States an equal access to vaccines. The production volumes of vaccines are limited globally and the demand exceeds the supply.” He added that, within the framework of the vaccines distribution mechanism, the Eastern Partnership countries should also be regarded as a priority region.
Regarding the digital certificate of vaccination, Ratas said that Estonia supported fast proceedings and implementation. “Estonia considers it important that the interoperability of the European Union solution with the vaccination certificates system that is being established by the World Health Organization (WHO) would be ensured,” Ratas noted.
Sassoli assured that the European Union would continue cooperation to resolve the vaccine supply problems and to move on with vaccination certificates, where data protection risks would also need to be grounded.
The distribution of the support from the European Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) was also discussed at the video meeting. Ratas emphasised that a quick recovery from the health and economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic was essential. In his opinion, the support measures must be well-targeted and they must focus on digital and environmentally-friendly investments, and on strengthening the single market and competitiveness. Ratas pointed out that we could invest nearly a billion euro from the recovery facility into green transition, further digitisation and healthcare investments.
Speaking of the new sources of revenue of the European Union, Ratas said that Estonia did not support new sources of revenue to fund the European Union budget and the Recovery and Resilience Facility and preferred continuing with the existing system. “We consider it important that the European Union would retain unanimity in decisions on tax issues and there would be no movement towards harmonisation of taxes,” Ratas added.
Both Sassoli and Ratas appreciate the Conference on the Future of Europe that enables people from across Europe to have a say in the issues that matter to them.
Ratas invited the President of the European Parliament to visit Estonia in August, when Estonia would celebrate the 30th anniversary of the restoration of its independence together with Latvia and Lithuania.
Today’s meeting was the first bilateral meeting of the President of the Riigikogu and the President of the European Parliament.
Photos of the meeting (Erik Peinar, Chancellery of the Riigikogu)
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