At its sitting today, the European Union Affairs Committee (EUAC) of the Riigikogu launched into debates on the European Union enlargement policy. The Committee refined Estonia’s positions on the EU Communication on Enlargement and adopted these by consensus.
The Committee decided that Estonia would support starting accession negotiations with Ukraine and Moldova and advocate for speeding up the preparatory steps in the European Commission. Estonia is ready to support giving a candidate status to Georgia if the country carries out the necessary reforms and aligns itself with the EU Common Foreign and Security Policy, particularly the sanctions directed against Russia. Estonia is ready to support opening accession negotiations with Bosnia and Herzegovina if the country meets the required criteria in a satisfactory manner. The Committee decided to expand on these positions and recognise Kosovo’s efforts to de-escalate the situation in the northern part of the country and the voluntary alignment of the country with the anti-Russia sanctions of the European Union.
The Chairman of the EUAC Liisa Pakosta referred to the warning of the Committee not to let one of the corner stones of accession – the principle of the rule of law – fade out of focus in the European Union. “Yearly legal analyses should take into account the functioning of the Member States as well as that of the European Union itself. For the candidate countries as well, the principle of the rule of law should genuinely be a value that unites us all. It is crucial to keep the Union itself from crossing the line with its legislations, i.e. from regulating things that are better regulated at the national level. Red tape must be kept in check to allow the business sector to develop in a competitive way,” Pakosta emphasised.
Member of the Committee Rain Epler highlighted the consensual resolve of the Committee to make sure that Estonia’s positions fully reflect the need for the European Union and its institutions to respect the principles of the rule of law. “We keep increasingly seeing how the European Commission attempts to extend the scope of its powers, and in the European Union Affairs Committee we have repeatedly expressed our opposition to this. We cannot allow the European Union to federalise furtively, so to speak, without having received a mandate for this purpose from the citizens and Member States,” Epler explained.
The Committee also strongly supports conducting a thorough analysis of the impact that the EU enlargement would have on Estonia. It was also pointed out at the sitting that the purpose of the EU enlargement policy was to create conditions where the countries preparing for the accession become economically stronger so that their accession would also result in a bigger and economically stronger European Union.
The next steps in EU enlargement will be discussed next week in Brussels at the European Council.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Margus Tsahkna and Director General of the European Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Siiri Königsberg were also present while the Committee discussed the enlargement related items on its agenda.
The European Union Affairs Committee adopted the government positions on the European Commission 2023 Communication on EU Enlargement Policy in its amended form.
For more information, please contact: Liisa Pakosta, phone +372 502 6191