Project Brexit

Estonia

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President

Prime Minister

Kersti Kaljulaid (Non-partisan, since October 2016)

Jüri Ratas (Centre Party, since November 2016)

Population 1,311,998
Size 42,925.46 km2 (26,672.64 sq mi)
MEPs 6 (Joined the EU in 2004)
Next presidential election

 

Next legislative election

2021

Elections were due to be held in 2019. However, in November 2016, two parties in Estonia’s coalition government withdrew their support for the biggest party, Taavi Rõivas’ Reform party. The PM lost a no-confidence vote in Parliament in mid-November and the Center Party’s Jüri Ratas became the new PM in coalition with the Social Democrats and the conservative IRL party.

Presidency of the Council July – December 2017
Last meeting with Theresa May 5 December 2016, by phone. Meeting is set for spring 2017.
Brexit priorities At the EU level, Estonia and the UK were often on the same side in discussions, particularly on business and internal market policies. Getting a good trade deal, particularly for Estonian tech firms based in London, will be a top priority.

The Prime Minister has confirmed he believes good relations and cooperation with the UK are very important, particularly in relation to defence. With Russia looming at its border, Estonia is keen to have a powerful partner in NATO. Estonia is set to receive 800 British troops in the coming months to deter Russia.

What Mr Ratas said on Brexit 14 July 2016

“The UK will be an important partner for Estonia and an ally in both the economic and security spheres in the future as well. This is affirmed, among other things, by the fact that a NATO multinational battalion under their leadership will be stationed in Estonia soon”

16 September 2016

“It is in our collective interest that the UK remain close to the EU. To be sure, Britain will want a tailor-made arrangement with us.”

20 December 2016

“A close relationship between the UK and the EU is a matter of common interest. The United Kingdom is and will remain an important European country in both political and economic terms and an essential partner in the field of security. However, there are no benefits without responsibilities – access to the internal market is linked to full acceptance of the four fundamental freedoms,”

President Kaljulaid on 21 December 2016

“It is important for negotiations to end successfully and for the European Union to remain united.”

Estonia’s priorities Priorities for this new government are creating stability after the previous Estonian Government collapsed, boosting the economy and population growth, foreign affairs and security and preparing for Estonia’s 2017 presidency of the Council of the European Union.

The Government wants to keep the state firmly rooted in the European Union and NATO and plans to spend at least 2.0% of GDP on defence.

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