The European Union Affairs Committee and the Foreign Affairs Committee held a joint meeting today to discuss the positions of Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas on the European Union reform proposals made by the United Kingdom, as well as the upcoming UK membership referendum. The Prime Minister will represent Estonia's positions at the meeting of the European Council on 17–18 December.
The Chairman of the European Union Affairs Committee Kalle Palling sees UK as a valued ally of Estonia, which is why it is important that it remains a Member State of the Union. “We can support those reform proposals that are aimed at improving the unity, capacity for development and competitiveness of the EU, at strengthening the four principal freedoms, and at making the functioning of the Union more efficient,” Palling said.
“In certain fields, such as better governance, intensifying the internal market, single digital market, and trade policy, our opinions largely concord with those of the UK. The positions of Estonia, many other Member States, and the UK vary the most in issues of free movement of individuals,” Palling said.
The participants of the meeting found that the European Union should be strong, open, capable of developing, and united. Free movement of individuals is one of the principal freedoms of the EU, and there is no justification for doubting its importance or setting up restrictions that exclude equal treatment. Estonia is open to a more intense cooperation between Member States in order to minimise fraudulence, errors, and abuses of the social system.
Members of the European Union Affairs Committee and the Foreign Affairs Committee also discussed the positions of the UK on 10 December with the Head of the Europe Directorate of the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office Richard Wood, and the British Ambassador Christopher Bruce Holtby.
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