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Tiny Estonia takes over EU presidency

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Tiny Estonia takes over EU presidency

EU presidency flags

(TALLINN) - Estonia's first EU presidency began on 1 July with a focus on an innovative European economy, safety and security, digital Europe and free movement of data, and an inclusive and sustainable Europe.

The presidency's priorities build on strategic agenda and common goals formulated by the EU Member States and institutions in this year's Rome declaration on the 60th anniversary of the Rome Treaties.

As EU president, Estonia will for the next six months be responsible for defining the Council's positions, while at the same time considering the interests of all Member States and remaining neutral at the same time. Estonia will be responsible for organising and chairing meetings and working groups on all levels. It is the Presidency's task to represent the Council and defend the agreements reached in negotiations with the European Commission and the Parliament.

The country therefore has a great opportunity to steer discussions in the EU. It says it aims to be 'knowledgeable, efficient, open and transparent, giving a special focus to digital solutions, an innovative economy, security, and preserving a clean environment'.

The Estonian presidency's motto is 'Unity through balance' - 'preserving the common values of prosperity, security, peace and stability in Europe'. It will seek to maintain Europe's unity through practical decisions.

The first priority, an open and innovative European economy will focus on protecting the EU's four freedoms, helping to make starting a business in the EU as easy as possible, creating new funding opportunities for companies, establishing a well-functioning electricity market, and preventing tax evasion.

A safe and secure Europe will focus on strengthening the fight against terrorism, continuing work to tackle the migration crisis, strengthening relations with Eastern partnership countries, and an increase in defence expenditure.

A digital Europe and free movement of data will focus on developing cross-border e-commerce and e-services, and ensuring modern and secure electronic communications are available across Europe.

An inclusive and sustainable Europe will focus on promoting labour mobility and free movement, ensuring equal opportunities in the labour market and social inclusion and securing a more sustainable environment.

Estonian Presidency website

Programme of the Estonian Presidency of the Council

Indicative calendar of meetings under the Estonian Presidency (1 July - 31 December 2017)

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