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Estonia set to take up EU precidency

Added 6/29/2017
Euronews - 29. 6. 2017; photo: eurovision.net

Celebration events have been held in Tallinn, as Estonia prepares to take up the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union. Prime MinisterJuri Ratas told those gathered that Europe had “proven to be everything we hoped it to be,” but that “the best is yet to come.” Estonia will take on the six-month presidency from July, with Malta handing over the reigns.

Its role will be to seek common ground among the different views of member states, and guide them towards agreements.

Tallinn says its goal is to make Europe more united and stronger.

“I am convinced that this Estonian presidency will build on this positive momentum and contribute to a more prosperous and more secure future for all Europeans,” said European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in Tallinn.

“The programme, the priorities you have set out clearly shows that: from security to sustainability, from protection to prosperity.”

The presidency comes at a crucial time in Europe, as Britain negotiates its way out of the bloc. A divorce yes, but Tallinn says the underlying friendship will remain.

“(The) UK is a democratic country, a free country, which shares our values, which will remain in Europe, which will remain our partner and ally, even after the Brexit happens,” Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid told.

“We will not allow any of those discussions to break down those links and this is not anybody’s objective in Europe, I can assure you.”