Estonia takes over the presidency of the Council of the European Union

The first Estonian presidency of the Council of the EU started on 1 July 2017 when it took over the rotating six month presidency from Malta. This is the first part of a “trio” presidency extending over eighteen months which also includes Bulgaria and Austria.
The four priorities of the Estonian presidency are:

  1. An open and innovative European economy: focusing on protecting and promoting the EU's four freedoms (free movement of goods, persons, services and capital); making sure that providing services and starting a business in the EU is as easy as possible, and advancing trade negotiations; creating new funding opportunities for companies and ensuring a stable banking sector; establishing a stable and well-functioning electricity market and empowering consumers; and ensuring fair competition by preventing tax evasion.
  2. A safe and secure Europe: focusing on strengthening the fight against terrorism and organised crime; strengthening the internal security as well as the protection of the EU’s external borders by improving cooperation and using cutting-edge information systems; continuing the work tackling the migration crisis and reforming the Common European Asylum System; supporting and strengthening relations with Eastern partnership countries; and an increase in defence expenditure, developing European defence cooperation and the EU-NATO partnership.
  3. A digital Europe and the free movement of data: focusing on developing cross-border e-commerce and e-services for the benefit of consumers, producers and businesses; ensuring modern and secure electronic communications available everywhere across Europe as well as creating a favourable environment for new innovative services; and advancing cross-border digital public services to facilitate everyday life.
  4. An inclusive and sustainable Europe: focusing on modernising rules in order to promote labour mobility and free movement of persons; ensuring equal opportunities in the labour market and social inclusion; and securing a more sustainable environment.

Particular emphasis is expected on making progress concerning the “services package” published by the European Commission in January and the digital single market. Further information is available from the website of the Estonian presidency at