Dublin, 13 July 2017: European Movement (EM) Ireland today hosted a discussion on the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, which was addressed by the Minister of State for European Affairs, Helen McEntee, TD, and the Ambassador of Estonia to Ireland, H.E. Mrs Kristi Karelsohn.
Addressing the briefing held in the Department of An Taoiseach, Ambassador Karelsohn outlined the plans and priorities of the Estonian Presidency, while Minister of State for European Affairs, Helen McEntee, TD, welcomed the Estonian Presidency and discussed Ireland’s current relations with the EU. EM Ireland’s Estonian Presidency Calendar with key EU meetings and events over the next six months was also launched.
Minister Helen McEntee welcomed the new Estonian Presidency of the Council of the EU, stating that Ireland looked forward to working to progress the priorities of the Presidency.
“Ireland supports the priorities identified by Estonia with their emphasis on preserving our shared values of prosperity, security, peace and stability in Europe. We particularly welcome the focus on a Digital Europe and Estonia’s intention of holding a summit meeting in Tallinn on 29 September to discuss Europe’s digital future. We wish the Estonian Presidency well for its upcoming six months.”
At the event, Ambassador Kristi Karelsohn stated that the overarching aim of the Estonian Presidency is to ensure that the EU remains united and decisive, despite global and local challenges including the challenge of Brexit.
“We must keep looking for ways to unite us, issues and initiatives that bring about balance and build bridges. Despite all challenges, Europe must look forward and deliver concrete things for its citizens,” she said.
The Ambassador outlined the Estonian Presidency’s four key priorities as an open and innovative European economy; a safe and secure Europe; a Digital Europe and the free movement of data; as well as an inclusive and sustainable Europe.
“A strong Single Market is a key driver of economic welfare, but it is not yet complete. Our objective is to promote the EU’s four freedoms and facilitate the freedom of establishment and cross-border mobility of companies, advance trade negotiations and take a step towards cleaner energy, which is both reliable and affordable,” Ambassador Karelsohn said.
The Estonian Presidency will have a particular focus on the establishment of a Digital Single Market, the increased use of e-solutions, the development of cross border e-services and cyber defence. “We see technological innovation as a tool to make the lives of people, companies and governments more effective,” the Ambassador said.
Addressing the event, EM Ireland Executive Director, Noelle O Connell, said that “in light of the forthcoming schedule for formal negotiations on Brexit, Estonia takes over the Presidency at a critical juncture for the EU. While these negotiations will be ongoing, Estonia will be at the helm as the EU advances across a range of policy areas, and as discussions progress on the Future of Europe.”