Our responsibilities related to the presidency will confer on us the role of spokesperson for the EU. We will be attracting significantly more attention than we ever have thus far, both in Europe and on the international scene. This is an excellent opportunity to show who we are and what we can do.
In addition to fulfilling the role of the Council presidency in Brussels, a major task is the organisation of events in Estonia. Particular focus will be put on approximately 20 high-level events, including 12 unofficial ministerial meetings.
Those events will provide us with an opportunity to raise issues and initiate discussions on the main themes of the Estonian presidency by involving opinion leaders from across Europe. At the same time we can introduce our country and our solutions at these meetings, conferences and visits to a very broad audience.
Besides official meetings, the presidency holder normally prepares a wider international programme to introduce their country.
The main areas of the international programme are culture, education and research, IT and the information society and entrepreneurship. Under the international programme, we want to offer professional, high-level and high-visibility events in various areas or events linking different areas, from 2017 to the end of 2018.
The Estonian jubilee year shall commence immediately after the Estonian Presidency. In 2018 Estonia shall celebrate its 100th birthday and the programme creates an excellent opportunity to merge themes and link events taking place abroad into a single whole.
The priority target groups of the international programme are: all EU member states where Estonia is represented, our trio partner Bulgaria, and also Hungary, which belongs to the same language family as Estonia. The target countries also include the countries neighbouring the EU with whom Estonia wishes to enhance its current level and intensity of international relations and some North-American and Asian countries.
The Brussels programme will receive special attention in the context of the EU presidency. One of the priorities of the programme is cooperation with two major cultural centres that have an important role in co-organising high-level events and reaching out to the local audience.
The Bozar Centre for Fine Arts in Brussels will host a number of events related to Estonia. Besides various musical events, Bozar is also an important partner in introducing our achievements in art, architecture and other areas.
The second equally important partner is Flagey, which is preparing a high-level programme of different styles and moods – from chamber music to choir music to jazz to educational programmes.
We should also not forget other areas, such as presentations of achievements of Estonian universities and research institutions.
Keep yourself updated on preparations for the presidency!