The membership of European Union offers Estonia the opportunity and the obligation to participate in European Union policy-making.
The European Union Policy is shaped and implemented under the lead of Prime Minister, and it forms a part of the general policy by the Government. That requires early identification of Estonian topics of interest, formulating the standpoints and conducting the impact analyses, as well as a united effort to reach these goals.
An inter-ministerial commission Coordination Council of EU issues has been created to enable government institutions to work as one team, and to plan and monitor all parties’ EU-related policy initiation and implementation activities. Each ministry bears the responsibility for developing the draft legislation and enforcing the Government priorities in their domain.
Government Office and its European Union Secretariat is the central coordination unit of Estonia’s European Union policy. European Union Secretariat advises Prime Minister on EU matters (including preparations for European Council meetings), manages EU affairs across all government bodies, and offers guidelines for Permanent Representation Previous reference opens in new window work in the Council of European Union and other European Union institutions.
Estonia is the member of the EU since 2004.
Estonia's European Union Policy 2015-2019
The main principles of the Estonian EU policy have been summarised in a framework document Estonia’s European Union Policy 2015–2019, which has been debated by the national parliament Riigikogu and agreed by the Estonian Government.
The framework document “Estonia’s European Union Policy 2015–2019” describes Estonia’s EU policy and sets the main principles for meeting its objectives in the EU. It has been drawn up to meet the goals set in the Government of the Republic Action Programme (available in Estonian) and the political guidelines for the formulation of the EU policy (the guidelines are described in the chapter ‘Framework Principles’) approved at the Government’s cabinet meeting of 16 April 2015. The document consists of an introduction and Government’s main goals in eight policy areas. The clear-cut interests are expressed through 69 concrete operational objectives, the implementation of which partially serves as a preparation for the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the European Union in 2018. The final document was approved by the Estonian Government on 10 December 2015.
The document was composed by the Government Office and ministries from April to November 2015. The draft document was presented for public consultation from 31 July through 31 August 2015 (see also http://www.osale.ee). In addition, the Riigikogu provided its opinion regarding the document simultaneously. The decisions regarding the proposals were made at the Government’s meeting of 12 November 2015. In addition, the Prime Minister introduced the draft at the plenary session of the Riigikogu of 17 November 2015.
Estonian Presidency of the Council
of the European Union 2017
The presiding country of the European Union is a Member State responsible for the functioning of the Council of the European Union. The Presidency of the Council rotates among the EU Member States every six months. Estonia will assume the Presidency of the European Union from July to December 2017.
In the second half of 2017, Estonia will assume the Presidency of the Council of the European Union for the first time. This means defining the Council positions by taking into account the interests of all 28 Member States and remaining neutral at the same time.
The presiding country is responsible for organising the meetings and functioning of working groups of the Council of the European Union, determining agendas, chairing sessions and meetings, as well as reaching a common approach in the course of discussions. The presiding country must represent and defend the reached agreements in the negotiations with the European Commission and Parliament. In cooperation with the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union adopts decisions which are binding on all Member States.
The Presidency rotates every six months. Estonia will pick up the baton of Presidency from Malta to deliver it to Bulgaria six months later. Three successive presidencies will agree together which issues require more attention at the European level. This enables to stay focused on the essential issues for 18 successive months.
Immediately before 2018, the Programme for the Estonian Presidency will be completed, which consolidates all issues that Estonia intends to address during its Presidency.
Preparations for the Presidency are coordinated by the Government Office. In 2012, the Government formed a commission responsible for the preparations for the Presidency which is chaired by the Secretary of State. The commission consists of the representatives of the institutions involved in the preparations: the Government Office, ministries, and the Permanent Representation of Estonia to the EU.
Under the leadership of the commission, the Action Plan, the Personnel Strategy, and the Training Plan for the Presidency were completed in 2014. The commission has also approved a central budget for the preparation and conduction of the Presidency.
The Government Office team dealing with the preparations for the Presidency hires and trains the necessary personnel, organises unofficial meetings of the ministers during the Presidency and other high-level events and coordinates cooperation with all the institutions and parties involved in the Presidency.
More information about the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the European Union and its organisation is available at eesistumine.ee.
- Action Plan » (773.31 KB)
Action Plan for the preparations of the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the European Union
- Presidency Personnel Strategy » (1.37 MB)
Personnel Strategy for the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the European Union
- Training Plan » (1.55 MB)
Training Plan for the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the European Union