Ratas: We need pro-European and statesmanly leaders in difficult times

Met dank overgenomen van Ests voorzitterschap Europese Unie 2e helft 2017 i, gepubliceerd op vrijdag 10 maart 2017.

Prime Minister Jüri Ratas i commented on the result of the European Council meeting that despite the fact that Poland decided not to support the conclusions of the Council, several important issues concerning the future of the European Union were discussed and gathered consensus.

The topics of today’s Council meeting included the election of the President of the European Council, the issues concerning the economy, security, and migration, and the situation in the Western Balkan countries.

Prime Minister Jüri Ratas said that Donald Tusk i, who was re-elected as the President of the European Council for a second term today, was an excellent choice for Estonia, the Baltic countries, and the entire Europe. “The support for the re-election of Tusk was very high since he has proven himself to be a capable leader, who stands for a coherent, strong, and forward-looking European Union. It is precisely in difficult times when we need pro-European and statesmanly leaders,” Ratas said.

According to the Prime Minister, the European growth is showing positive signs, however, this does not mean that one should remain resting on one’s laurels. “We must carry out the EU Single Market strategies in a fast-paced manner, especially concerning the Digital Single Market strategy, and resume with structural reforms to ensure that the economic recovery and growth would continue."

While speaking about security, the Prime Minister said that increasing defence spending and closer cooperation between the EU and NATO collectively serve as one of the priorities for Estonia. “The world around us is changing and the Europeans are experiencing an increasing concern for their security. The EU’s commitment to the European common defence and security policies must find an adequate response to these concerns."

At the Council meeting, the EU leaders also discussed the political situation in the Western Balkans, which has recently deteriorated. “This is a serious situation for the European Union since our security is directly dependent on whether or not there is peace and stability in our neighbourhood,” Ratas said.