At today’s meeting, the European Union Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu (Parliament of Estonia) discussed the organisation of the parliamentary events of the Estonian presidency of the Council of the European Union, and approved the schedule of meetings.
Chairman of the European Union Affairs Committee Kalle Palling said that the Riigikogu is planning to conduct seven events in Estonia during the presidency period. Two of them will take place in the first half of 2018.
“The Riigikogu will have to organise the conferences of the parliaments of the European Union Members states,” Palling said. “We will involve the parliaments of Member States as well as the European Parliament, in order to support the achievement of negotiation results in the Council.”
In July 2017, the Riigikogu will organise the meeting of COSAC chairpersons under the leadership of the European Union Affairs Committee, where the chairpersons of the European Union Affairs Committees of the parliaments of the Member States will meet. It will be a preparatory meeting for the COSAC plenary which will take place in November of the same year. The committee approved the development of the digital single market as one topic of the plenary assembly; discussion regarding other topics is still going on, Palling said.
Chairpersons of the committees on foreign and security policy of the parliaments of Member States will gather in Tallinn in September next year, and chairpersons of the finance committees of the parliaments of the Member States will gather in October.
The topic of one conference is still open, Palling said, and the European Union Affairs Committee is going to involve specialised committees to decide it.
As Estonian presidency will take place in the second half of the year, the Riigikogu will also have to organise the meeting of the Secretaries General of the parliaments of the Member States in February 2018, and the Speakers’ Conference in the spring of the same year.
All Member States take turns to preside over the work of the Council of the European Union for six-month periods on the basis of an agreed schedule. Estonian presidency in the Council will begin on 1 July 2017. Estonian will take over the presidency from Malta and pass it on to Bulgaria.
Ambassador of Slovakia Tibor Králik gave an overview of the priorities of the current Presidency Slovakia to the committee today.
Slovak presidency priorities include improvement of the functioning of the European economic and monetary union (EMU), single market with an emphasis on digital issues and the Energy Union, finding sustainable solutions to migration, keeping the Schengen visa space and strengthening the European Union external border. Slovakia has also emphasised the need to continue the process of expansion of the European Union.
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