Stenbock house, Tallinn, 7 May 2018
Today, prior to the joint meeting of the governments of Estonia and Finland, Prime Minister Jüri Ratas met Juha Sipilä, the Prime Minister of Finland, to discuss the state of affairs and common interests in the European Union.
Last week, the European Commission proposed the EU budget for 2021–2027, where it requests additional funding for digitalisation, young people, science and innovation, migration, managing external borders, and security.
According to Prime Minister Ratas, the proposal by the European Commission takes the important aims of Estonia into account: ensuring better connectivity of different regions of Europe, levelling direct payments in agriculture to the average level of the European Union, and considering the prosperity of countries the main requirement for granting EU supports.
Ratas admitted that long and difficult negotiations await ahead, as the European Commission aims to keep the budget in its current size or larger to fund the joint activities, although the United Kingdom, formerly a large contributor to the budget, is leaving the EU. “A strong, stable, and future-oriented European Union that aims to improve the well-being of its people is important to Estonia. This means that we want more Europe, not less, and we, too, are ready to consider increasing our contribution,” said Ratas.
In addition, Ratas and Sipilä discussed the topics of the EU–Western Balkans summit that will take place next week, on 16–17 May in Sofia, Bulgaria. In the evening of 16 May, the dinner of the leaders, the tradition that was kicked off in Tallinn during the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the EU, will take place, where the heads of state and government of the European Union focus on innovation, science, and digital cooperation.
Ratas also presented to Sipilä the preparations for Tallinn Digital Summit that is planned to take place in autumn in Tallinn. The topics of the summit are global data management and artificial intelligence and their uses in e-governance, economy, and defence.
“While the Finns have learned about the exchange of data from Estonia, then we could, in turn, learn from their experiences of using artificial intelligence. Finland is actively preparing to use artificial intelligence in the public sector,” noted Ratas.
Today, at 2 p.m., the jubilee meeting of the governments of Estonia and Finland will take place. The joint meeting celebrates the 100th anniversaries of both countries and aims to strengthen the ties and improve cooperation between the nations. The governments will discuss four topics: transportation and energy, digital development, cultural cooperation, and common interests in the European Union.