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Estonia’s Presidency of the Council of the EU

During the second half of 2017, Estonia will hold the Presidency of the Council of the EU for the first time. The EU presidency rotates among the EU member states every six months. Estonia will pick up the baton from Malta and deliver it to Bulgaria six months later.

 

What does the Council of the EU do?


If legislation in the European Union is initiated by the European Commission, then depending on the procedures that apply to the specific legislation, they are passed as equal partners by the Council of the EU, which represents the governments of the member states, and the European Parliament that represents the citizens of Europe, or only the Council.
The ministers of the EU member states meet with their colleagues at the ministerial meetings of the Council of the EU to discuss important policy issues in their fields, to conclude mutual agreements that apply to all the member states and are binding on the states in the European Economic Area, and to formulate important resolutions. The meetings are chaired by the ministers for the relevant sectors of the state holding the presidency.
The agendas for the meetings of the Council of the EU are prepared by sectoral working groups, which include representatives from all the member states, and by the ministerial level meetings. The working groups and ministerial level meetings are chaired by officials from the state holding the presidency, whose assignment it is to explain the positions of the member states and steer the discussions to arrive at joint resolutions.

Why is the Presidency of the Council of the EU important to Estonia? 

The presidency is important to Estonia because, for six month, we will have the opportunity to manage the political calendar of the Council of the EU.

What does the Council of the EU do?

If legislation in the European Union is initiated by the European Commission, then depending on the procedures that apply to the specific legislation, they are passed as equal partners by the Council of the EU, which represents the governments of the member states, and the European Parliament that represents the citizens of Europe, or only the Council.
The ministers of the EU member states meet with their colleagues at the ministerial meetings of the Council of the EU to discuss important policy issues in their fields, to conclude mutual agreements that apply to all the member states and are binding on the states in the European Economic Area, and to formulate important resolutions. The meetings are chaired by the ministers for the relevant sectors of the state holding the presidency.
The agendas for the meetings of the Council of the EU are prepared by sectoral working groups, which include representatives from all the member states, and by the ministerial level meetings. The working groups and ministerial level meetings are chaired by officials from the state holding the presidency, whose assignment it is to explain the positions of the member states and steer the discussions to arrive at joint resolutions.

What is the goal of Estonia’s EU presidency?

Estonia’s goal is to be a presidency that is professional, efficient, open and transparent.

Estonia will hold the presidency of the EU for six months during the second half of 2017, i.e. from 1 July to 31 December 2017.

 

Important topics for Estonia

 

Along with the objectives and action plan of the European Commission, the priorities of the Member State holding the presidency also play an important role. These are the subjects that the country holding the presidency wishes to focus on.

The country holding the presidency can decide which topics are dealt with more intensively, while also considering the wishes and interests of all the other member states. The final content of the agreements that are achieved depend on the other Member States and institutions.

On 12 January 2017, the Government of the Republic approved the following priorities for the Estonian presidency:

  • AN OPEN AND INNOVATIVE EUROPEAN ECONOMY,
  • SAFE AND SECURE EUROPE,
  • DIGITAL EUROPE AND THE FREE FLOW OF DATA,
  • INCLUSIVE AND SUSTAINABLE EUROPE.

The detailed programme for Estonia’s presidency will be revealed immediately before Estonia takes over the presidency in early summer of 2017.

 

What will be the key topics for the Ministry of Culture during the presidency? 


For the Ministry of Culture, the most important topics include:

  • renewing the directive on audio-visual media services, the draft legislation for which is an important part of the strategy for the EU’s digital single market, ,
  • access to culture and cultural heritage via digital means,
  • the role of coaches in society.

The most significant topic of these three is the complete updating of the regulation related to the field of audiovisual media services, for which a draft directive is currently being considered by the European Commission, and which is a legal initiative that could have wide-ranging impact on the field of media services in all the member states.

What events will take place in Estonia during the presidency? 


During the presidency, 223 events will take place in Tallinn, including 11 ministerial meetings.

The Ministry of Culture will organise five expert conferences during the presidency:

12-13 July Cultural heritage conference, Tartu
12-13 July Sports conference on the role of coaches, Tallinn
21-22 September Spordikonverents ülikoolist kehalise aktiivsuse edendajana ja topeltkarjääri teemal, Tartu
21-22 September European Forum on Architectural Policies, Tallinn
28-29 November Audiovisual Conference/European Film Forum, Tallinn


On 23 September, the Third European Sports Week will be offcially opened in Tartu in cooperation with the 20th Tartu Cycling Marathon. On that day, it is expected that more than 3,000 children will participate in the children’s races in Tartu.

 

Introducing Estonia


The responsibilities related to the presidency place us in the role of being the spokesperson for the European Union for six months, and this will also attract much greater attention to our country.
Along with fulfilling the role of the presidency in Brussels, it is also essential to organise events in Estonia. At these meetings it is important to raise topics and initiate discussions related to the main themes of the Estonia’s presidency, and thereby involve opinion leaders from all over Europe. At the meetings, conference and visits that occur in Estonia, we can also introduce our country and our smart solutions to a very wide-ranging audience.


International programme


The international programmes for Estonia’s Presidency of the Council of the EU and the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Estonia (EV100) aim to more broadly introduce Estonia to the world. The programme is sponsoring more than 150 cultural, educational, scientific and technological events to take place in foreign countries in 2017 and 2018.


The cultural programme of the presidency in Brussels

 

In light of the presidency of the EU, we have been paying special attention to events in Brussels. One priority is to focus on collaborating with two important cultural centres, which will play an important role in co-organising top cultural events and reaching local audiences.

The Bozar Centre for Fine Art will host several events related to Estonia. In addition to various musical performances, Bozar will also be an important partner in the presentation of the fine arts, architecture and other fields.

Just as important is the collaboration with Flagey, with whom an impressive programme related to Estonia has been developed, which includes a variety of moods – from chamber music and choirs to jazz.


100th birthday of the Republic of Estonia

 

In addition to holding the Presidency of the Council of the EU in the second half of 2017, the Republic of Estonia will also be celebrating its 100th anniversary on 24 February 2018. The celebration of Estonia’s 100th anniversary will start in April of 2017 when, 100 years ago, the territory settled by Estonians was united. The celebrations will peak on the date marking the centennial jubilee, and continue until 2 February 2020, which will mark 100 years since the Tartu Peace Treaty, which ended the Estonian War of Independence, was signed.

Everyone is invited to participate in the celebration of the centennial of the Republic of Estonia by organising events and giving gifts. The gifts are events and initiatives that will bring joy to people, communities and the entire nation, and will aim to create a better future. Gifts and events will be added to the EV100 programme until the end of the centennial period, and more information is available on the EV100 website.

Read more about Estonia’s presidency of the EU on the website for Estonia’s Presidency of the Council of the EU.

 

 

Heili Jõe
Adviser for European Union Affairs

Phone 628 2228
e-mail: heili.joe@kul.ee