On the motion of the European Union Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu (Parliament of Estonia), the Board of the Riigikogu approved the preliminary priorities for the interparliamentary meetings of the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
President of the Riigikogu Eiki Nestor said that in leading the interparliamentary cooperation during Estonia’s Presidency, the Riigikogu will be open and oriented towards common interests.
“Presidency is a great challenge and its success is in the interests of the whole country,” Nestor said. “It will stimulate us to be more active in communicating with our partners in other Member States – in addition to communicating with our own citizens – and in promoting parliamentary diplomacy.”
Nestor added that the Riigikogu has to support the Government in the successful presiding of the work of the Council of the European Union, determine its priorities in the organisation of the presidency events and bring the issues that are relevant for Estonia into the focus of parliamentary discussions.
Estonia also lays importance to those areas where it can share its strengths with others.
According to Chairman of the European Union Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu Kalle Palling, during the period of Estonia’s Presidency, Estonia will address the topics that are relevant in Europe at the moment, and also promote Estonia’s experience as the introducer of e-solutions. “Besides that, also those fields of cooperation of the European Union are important for Estonia that are significant to our citizens,” Palling said. He added that before the Presidency all these issues would be specified. Estonia will also cooperate with the United Kingdom, who will hold the presidency before us, and Bulgaria, who will follow us.
On the basis of the proposals made by the Committees of the Riigikogu to the European Union Affairs Committee, the Board of the Riigikogu approved the main topics to be addressed at the high-level interparliamentary meetings during the presidency.
The Economic Affairs Committee will be responsible for the topic of connections and infrastructures. The Rural Affairs Committee and the Environment Committee will be responsible for the topics related to the competitiveness of the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy and natural capital. On the proposal of the Social Affairs Committee, the Constitutional Committee and the Legal Affairs Committee, the issues connected with the ageing society and migration will be discussed at the meetings held during the period of Estonia’s Presidency, and the above-mentioned committees will also be responsible for these topics.
The Cultural Affairs Committee and the European Union Affairs Committee proposed to deal with the free movement of services on the digital single market and the issues connected with creative economy at the plenary meeting of the Conference of Parliamentary Committees for Union Affairs of Parliaments of the European Union (COSAC). The security and defence policy issues that are important for Estonia will be spoken about at the Conference for the Common Foreign and Security Policy and the Common Security and Defence Policy (CFSP/CSDP), which will be held in Tallinn.
The Riigikogu is planning to organise up to seven high-level meetings during the period of Estonia’s Presidency in the first half of 2018. Four of them are established specific cooperation formats, like the meeting of chairpersons and plenary meeting of COSAC, meeting of the committees dealing with the Common Foreign and Security Policy, or the meeting held in Brussels that deals with the stability of the EU and the coordination and management of the economy of the EU. In addition to that, up to three meetings organised by the specialist committees and dedicated to the issues that are relevant to the EU, and on which the parliament of the presiding country wishes to focus, will be held in Tallinn.