An overview of the most important moments of the Estonian Presidency’s first month.
A total of 240 events were held during the first month of the Estonian Presidency, 40 took place in Tallinn and the remaining 200 were in Brussels. More information about upcoming events is available on the events page.
On 1 July 2017, Estonia took over the Presidency of the Council of the EU for the first time
On the evening of 29 June, an opening ceremony was held at the Tallinn Creative Hub (Kultuurikatel) with speeches given by Estonian Prime Minister Jüri Ratas, President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, and President of the European Council Donald Tusk.
A free concert was also held at the Freedom Square in Tallinn to celebrate the start of the Estonian Presidency that was attended by nearly 15 000 people. In addition to enjoying the concert at Freedom Square, which was decorated with a 'digital thicket' of wood installations, people could also visit the street food and café area, and a playground called the Children's Republic. The concert and opening ceremony were both broadcast live by the Estonian Public Broadcasting (ERR).
Alleviating the migration situation on the Mediterranean
At an informal meeting held on 6 July, home affairs ministers discussed the migration situation on the Mediterranean. The ministers reaffirmed their commitment to take urgent action for reducing migratory pressures and to provide support to the EU member states most affected.
On 17 July, the Council adopted a decision on the European Union’s position on the application of the Aarhus Convention. The Aarhus Convention aims to ensure that everyone has an equal say in environmental issues, and equal access to environmental information and the administration of justice.
More effective protection against carcinogens and mutagens
On 11 July 2017, the Council's Permanent Representatives Committee approved additions to the directive protecting workers from exposure to carcinogens or mutagens in the workplace. The decision ensures better protection against exposure to carcinogens or mutagens in the workplace for four million employees within the European Union.
On 18 July, twenty-eight telecommunications ministers and high-ranking representatives of the European Union signed a joint declaration providing an impetus for developing 5G networks in Europe. Through the joint declaration, member states confirmed their willingness to position Europe as the lead market for 5G and to agree on a standard for 5G in the future. The joint declaration also stressed the need to create suitable preconditions for leveraging the full potential of 5G (for example, the availability of radio frequencies required for 5G networks and cross-border frequency coordination).
Digital single market conference
On 17 July, the digital single market conference brought together leading businesses and academics from across the world. The conference focused on the free movement of data, which is one of the preconditions for creating a digital single market in the European Union. A digital Europe and the free movement of data is one of the four priorities of the Estonian Presidency.
Common European asylum system reform
On 19 July, the Permanent Representatives Committee (Coreper) endorsed a mandate for negotiations with European Parliament on granting asylum seekers equal rights and responsibilities across the European Union.
Declaration on gender equality
Representatives of Estonia and the next two Council presidencies, Bulgaria and Austria, signed a joint trio declaration (PDF, 4.87 MB) setting out a general action plan for improving gender equality in the European Union over the next 18 months.
Updating the EU Blue Card Directive
On 26 July, the Permanent Representatives Committee (Coreper) agreed on a mandate for negotiations with European Parliament on the Blue Card Directive. The purpose of the EU Blue Card is to attract highly qualified workers from across the world to Europe.
Nord Stream 2
The Estonian Presidency led the first substantial discussions on the mandate of the European Commission for negotiating the Nord Stream 2 pipeline with Russia.