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The Topics

meu tallinn 2017

MEU Tallinn 2017 Topics

 

The Digital Single Market

The completion of the Digital Single Market is one of the main priorities of the European Commission. In recent years Internet has become a crucial component of economic and leisure activities while European legislation has not kept up with the pace of change. Currently existing copyright differences between countries limit access to digital contents and compatibility barriers restrict the scope of business action. In order to reduce those limitations and unleash the growth potential the Commission has devised a strategy that aims at improving online access across borders, harmonise legal frameworks while ensuring data security and supporting investment in the growth sectors. Estonia has been at the forefront when it comes to improving digital infrastructure and providing public services online. Consequently, the Digital Single Market is at the top of the working programme for the Estonian Council presidency, even beyond the Commission proposals already on the table.
At MEU Tallinn 2017 we want to discuss a major step towards streamlining legislation for the Digital Single Market, namely the new proposal for copyright. Given the scope of the topic, different regulatory regimes have to be reconciled and many different stakeholders have to be taken into account. Therefore, we think that the proposal will provide a good insight into the complexity of European decision making. It will foster a better understanding for the challenges that the EU is facing at the moment among the participants while highlighting a topic to which Estonia has a lot to contribute.

The European Pillar of Social Rights

Another milestone in European Integration planned for next year is the creation of the so-called Social Pillar as part of the Economic and Monetary Union. It will react to the cross-national social challenges that have arisen from the crisis and tackle the risks related to the changing nature of work. While it is still unsure which proposals will be tabled by the Commission, it is clear that questions such as access to social protection and addressing the concerns about the work-life balance of working families will be included. The general ambition of the Commission, however, is already clear and it consists in building upon existing EU social policy and to develop common yardsticks and goals to evaluate the performance of European welfare states. While Estonia has not stated social policy coordination as a priority for its presidency, we expect that the topic will play an important role in underlining the EU’s ambition to gather greater support for its actions.
What is likely going to be discussed at MEU Tallinn 2017 is the roadmap for the construction of the Pillar of Social Rights. In contrast to the Digital Single Market, the issue is less technical and more easily accessible for the participants, but by now member states have been reluctant to delegate much competence in this field to the EU. It will provide insights into a more deliberative part of EU policy making, where rather than passing a concrete proposal, participants will have to think about both the priorities and the means by which they want to achieve them.

The European Defence Cooperation

The EU’s military security has from the beginning been focused almost solely on NATO. However, with the election of Donald Trump, who has questioned the US’s role in NATO and has signalled repeatedly towards a more isolationist US Foreign Policy, the further security of the Union is under question. Furthermore, with the departure of the UK from the EU, the Union loses its strongest military power and a member state with a UN Security Council seat. In this context, the debate about strengthening the military capabilities of the EU have sprung up. Likewise, the European External Action Service’s vision for EU’s foreign policy as set in the EU Global Strategy entails the EU increasing its hard power capabilities to accompany its soft power in the future. Indeed, the Treaty of Lisbon already provides for the formation of EU battlegroups but they have never been deployed. With the constant challenges that the EU faces, also in areas of cyber and hybrid warfare, the Commission is hoping to find sufficient common ground among member states to take a step towards greater cooperation in the defence domain without duplication of current security structures under NATO whilst accounting for the 6 EU member states not part of NATO.
For the Estonian presidency, increasing the Unions defence capabilities without duplicating NATO is a key priority, especially in terms of increasing Cyber Security of the EU. At MEU Tallinn 2017, we’re confident that due to the highly contested issue of increased military cooperation among member states, the discussions will be both lively and passionate whereby participants can relate the substance of the discussion to a broader global picture and future vision of the European Union.