Stenbock House, 17 December 2018 – Prime Minister Jüri Ratas will travel to Vilnius today to attend an official meeting for the Baltic prime ministers, marking the end of the Lithuanian presidency of the Prime Ministers’ Council. The Prime Ministers’ Council is the highest organ of the Baltic Council of Ministers (BCM), which directs the work carried out on trilateral intergovernmental cooperation.
The meeting will begin with a discussion on security and the situation in Ukraine. Estonia will lead the discourse on the European Union long-term budget for 2021–2027. The common priorities of all three Baltic States regarding the next EU budget are better connections, a strong cohesion policy, more equitable direct aid for farmers, strengthening of security, an efficient defence on the external border of the EU, and the European Neighbourhood Policy.
The meeting will also focus on the development and financing of the Rail Baltic project as well as Estonian, Latvian, and Lithuanian unified approach on the issue of summer-time arrangements (Directive 2000/84/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council). Latvia will introduce their priorities for following year’s presidency of the Baltic cooperation.
According to Prime Minister Jüri Ratas, the collaboration among the three centenary states has been intense and fruitful, but we need to move forward in introducing and defending our individual interests. “We must continue to explicate our standpoints on the European Union level – explain the reasons why it is unacceptable to agree with a rapid decrease in the resources of the cohesion policy, why we need an even faster approximation of agricultural direct aid, and why it is crucial to guarantee financing for the Rail Baltic project,” Ratas said. “Our voices chime louder together than they would separately,” he added.
BCM was established in 1994 to assure a consistent intergovernmental cooperation between the three states. BCM operates by consensus and its conclusions are binding.
From Vilnius, Jüri Ratas will head directly to Vienna to take part in High-Level Forum Africa-Europe. The Chairman of the African Union for 2018 President Paul Kagame of Rwanda and Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz have decided to call for a High-Level Forum to provide a space for European and African leaders, together with CEOs of global companies, innovation champions and other stakeholders, ro reflect and act on what needs to be done to secure prosperity and competitivness on both continents as well as to deepen the relationship in all its aspects with a specific focus on taking cooperation to the digital age.
The prime minister will return to Estonia on Tuesday afternoon.
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