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Estonian PM, Kallas Emphasizes the Need for Focus On EU Strength, Flexibility and Strengthening European Competitiveness

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By Gabriel Ani

Stenbock House, November 6, 2023 – During her meeting with Valdis Dombrovskis, the Executive Vice-President of the European Commission, and a subsequent panel discussion at Estonia’s annual event for the recovery and resilience facility, European Iron Lady and Prime Minister Kaja Kallas highlighted the importance of focusing on the European Union’s strengths and maintaining flexibility to enhance its competitiveness. The meeting also touched upon the significance of providing long-term support to Ukraine.

“To enhance competitiveness, the European Union should shift its focus away from a state aid race and concentrate on leveraging its strengths. The most crucial among them is a robust and equitable single market with nearly 500 million consumers, offering European businesses the opportunity to thrive,” emphasized Kaja Kallas.

Today, the European Commission is allocating 238.5 million euros in performance-based funding for Estonia’s recovery and resilience efforts. Despite Estonia’s proactive approach in renewing its recovery plan and launching the investment measure for the just transition plan, Kaja Kallas expressed concerns about the tight funding deadlines.

“We’ve initiated ambitious reforms and investments, but with less than three years for implementation, EU performance-based investments should be more flexible in adapting to rapidly changing circumstances,” she stated.

In her meeting with Dombrovskis, Kallas expressed optimism that the European Commission’s assessment of Ukraine’s progress in implementing the seven-step reform plan, due next Wednesday, will be positive. She hopes that accession negotiations with Kyiv can commence before the year’s end. “Ukraine has demonstrated unwavering determination and political will, making remarkable strides in reforms despite the challenging war conditions. We are committed to launching accession negotiations this year,” Kallas affirmed.

Kallas also underscored the need for a European-wide solution for the use of frozen Russian assets in Ukraine’s reconstruction, ahead of the December Council meeting. “We must also finalize long-term support for Ukraine by year-end,” she added.

During their meeting, the Prime Minister and the Vice-President delved into foreign trade matters, including trade relations with the United States. Kaja Kallas provided an update on the investigation into the damage sustained by the Balticconnector gas pipeline.

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