During the discussion on the next budget of the European Union at the EU’s foreign and EU ministers in Brussels today, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said that when it comes to the common agricultural policy, Estonia calls for a faster equalization of direct aid.
“When it comes to the below average direct aid of the European Union, we don’t feel any equal treatment; gaps of this size have no justification on the common market,” Paet said. “Along with Latvia and Lithuania, Estonia has proposed a speedier equalization of direct aid,” he said.
Paet said that in terms of the European Union common market there is no justification for the fact that aid given to Estonia is merely 45% of the EU average. “The suggestion of the European Commission to raise the aid to 58% is also not sufficient,” he added.
Speaking about the cohesion policy of the European Union, Paet said that Estonia is a good example of how structural funds can help fight unemployment, create jobs and growth. “Therefore, it is vital for Estonia that when it comes to using structural funds, the limit of 2.5% of the GDP is not imposed on those member states that are worst hit by the economic crisis,” Paet stressed. This exception to the limit, suggested by Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, is still included in the package currently being negotiated, he assured.
“We are moving towards a common understanding that the next EU budget will be an instrument for boosting growth, employment and competition,” the Estonian Foreign Minister said. “A new budget means investments and must help to achieve the aims of the Europe 2020 strategy for job creation and growth,” he said.
According to Paet, Connecting Europe Facility is a good economy-boosting initiative, which invests in cross-border infrastructure projects and Estonia also contributes to the ten billion euro aid to the states included in the EU cohesion policy.
Today, the entire package was on the ministers’ table for the first time: that is to say, expenses as well as income.
Helen Ennok, spokesperson at the Permanent Representation of Estonia to the EU
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