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Ratas: EU digital single market will create jobs and generate growth
Prime Minister Jüri Ratas participated in a high level meeting of the Benelux, Nordic, and Baltic countries this evening in The Hague and called for increased cooperation on the creation of the EU digital single market.
“Europe is one of the world’s largest economies and a single market of some 500 million consumers that represents one of the most substantial accomplishments of the European Union. However, the internal market is not yet complete in the fields of cross-border connections, energy, capital, and services, for example. The future European economy will clearly be digital. A digital single market would contribute €400 million to the European economy and create thousands of new jobs. This is an untapped opportunity,” said Prime Minister Ratas.
Prime Minister Ratas explained that a digital Europe and the free movement of data would, therefore, be one of the major themes of the incoming Estonian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, due to begin in 10 days.
According to the Prime Minister, the digital single market is based on the free movement of data within Europe. “Today, data is as valuable as gold, coal, or oil has been in the past. The deployment of ultra-fast, next-generation internet connections and uninterrupted modern electronic communications is a prerequisite for sound growth. Moreover, we need to ensure the security of the free flow of data and enhance users’ trust in e-services. The readiness of governments and society to adapt to the changes is no less important as well,” said Prime Minister Ratas.
The leaders of Belgium, Estonia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Latvia, the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland and Denmark discussed social matters, the European Economic and Monetary Union, the migration crisis and cooperation in defence. Relations with Russia and Turkey, and future cooperation with the UK after its withdrawal from the European Union, were also discussed.
As a preparatory foreign visit of the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, Prime Minister Ratas met this afternoon with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte. Prime Minister Ratas highlighted a close cooperation between Estonia and the Netherlands in IT, as well as cyber and defence matters, during the meeting. The Netherlands is the third-largest inward investor for Estonia after Sweden and Finland. In the field of defence procurement, the Netherlands is Estonia’s most important cooperation partner. Prime Minister Ratas thanked his Dutch counterpart for the Netherlands’ contribution to the Baltic air policing mission.
Prime Minister Ratas also presented the priorities of the Estonian Presidency and invited his colleagues to the summit dedicated to digital technology scheduled to take place in Tallinn on 29 September.
Yesterday, Foreign Minister Sven Mikser met with the Foreign Minister of Germany, Sigmar Gabriel, ahead of the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the European Union. Foreign Minister Mikser emphasised at the meeting in Berlin that Estonia and Germany are close allies and partners, who share the same views on challenges facing the EU.
At today’s General Affairs Council in Luxembourg, the focus was on the meeting of the European Council taking place in two days, which will discuss migration, defence and security policy, employment, economic growth and competitiveness, external relations and a digital Europe.