Prime Minister Andrus Ansip gave an overview of the activities of the Government in implementing the European Union policies to the Riigikogu today. Chairman of the European Union Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu Marko Mihkelson also made a report.
Ansip stressed that, for the first time in modern Estonian history, a government has had an opportunity to influence European policy-making without interruption for four years in a row, which undoubtedly places higher expectations on the government. Ansip noted that, if we look at today’s trends in Europe, we can say with certainty that in general, the countries that have kept the government debt under control and their budgetary deficit small have been more successful in exiting the crisis. The Eurobarometer shows that voters also trust governments of such states. In Ansip’s words, Luxembourg, Sweden and Austria lead the rankings. The Prime Minister added that these examples confirm that Estonia has chosen the right path.
“Thanks to sustainable, conservative budgetary policy, we will be creating a firm foundation for future growth when, 17 days from now, we become the 17th European Union member state to change over to the euro. I assure you that the Government will do its utmost to make the changeover to the euro smooth, fluent and problem-free,” said Ansip. In this regard, the Prime Minister underlined that prices will neither fall nor rise due to the changeover to the euro but changes will be due to market forces.
Ansip continued by saying that that our other aims set in 2007 have been achieved as well: we have managed to establish ourselves at the core of the European Union and Estonia has also acceded to the Schengen visa space. Ansip said that Estonia supports the enlargement of Schengen visa space to Romania and Bulgaria, and the enlargement of the European Union as a whole.
Ansip recalled that, in early December this year, the European Union’s ministers of internal affairs had adopted a political decision to establish the headquarters of the EU’s IT agency in Estonia, which will engage in strategic planning of large-scale IT-systems for the European Union and lead systems development. It is the fruit of many years of devoted work.
“I consider as very important for all Europe the agreements reached in climate and energy policy last year and the year before that. The creation of a single European Union energy market is vitally important for ensuring Estonia’s energy security and reliability of supply,” confirmed the Prime Minister. A common energy market with our Nordic neighbours, which will be joined by Latvia and Lithuania in the near future, will create a favourable market for consumers in the longer perspective which will ensure an affordable electricity price.
Ansip also spoke about contributing to the European Union’s development: Estonia’s initiative, developed in cooperation with Finland, Denmark and the Netherlands, to establish an EU Digital Single Market by 2015.
In the Prime Minister’s words, one of the most important issues that must be resolved by the next Riigikogu will be agreeing on the European Union’s next long-term budgetary framework. More than it does today, the EU budget must be made to serve the interests of European competitiveness: the creation and development of pan-European infrastructures and research and development.
In conclusion, Ansip thanked the Riigikogu for the pleasant and trustful cooperation in shaping and effecting European Union policy.
In his co-report, Chairman of the European Union Affairs Committee Marko Mihkelson focused on the role of the European Union Affairs Committee in the participation in European Union policy.
Members of the Riigikogu Raivo Järvi, Enn Eesmaa, Aleksei Lotman, Sven Mikser and Mart Laar presented comments on this issue.
Due to the end of the working hours of the sitting of the plenary assembly, the first reading of the Draft Resolution “Making a Proposal to the Government of the Republic” (875 OE), submitted by the Social Democratic Party Faction, was adjourned. The deliberation will be resumed tomorrow, at the sitting beginning at 2 p.m.
For more details, read the verbatim record of the sitting (in Estonian):
The Riigikogu Press Service