Pellegrini Shares Slovakia’s Experience from Presidency with Estonia

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Deputy Prime Minister for Investments and Informatisation Peter Pellegrini (left) and Estonian Prime Minister Juri Ratas (photo by TASR)

Tallinn, May 16 (TASR-correspondent) – Slovakia’s experience from its first presidency of the Council of the EU in the second half of 2016 as well as the construction of infrastructure were among the main topics of a meeting between Slovak Deputy Prime Minister for Investments and Informatisation Peter Pellegrini (Smer-SD) and Estonian Prime Minister Juri Ratas in Tallinn on Tuesday.

Pellegrini is currently on a four-day working visit to Estonia and Finland.

After the meeting, the deputy prime minister noted that Estonia will soon take over the presidency of the EU Council – in July. Like Slovakia last year, Estonia will do so for the first time.

“They’re ready for the presidency. More than 1,200 people in Estonia are involved in it,” said Pellegrini, adding that the country’s presidency budget amounts to some €70 million, roughly the same as Slovakia’s last year.

Pellegrini added that a major summit aimed at addressing the digital agenda and modern technologies is likely to take place in Estonia as well. The country is among the leaders in this area.

“We also discussed the issue of constructing infrastructure. The premier was interested in the progress made in the construction of motorways and expressways and also in Slovakia’s rail connections to other European countries, as Estonia has a significant problem in the area of travelling by train to surrounding countries. It’s more difficult than what we’re used to in Slovakia,” said the Slovak deputy prime minister.

According to Pellegrini, the two sides also found agreement concerning the future of cohesion policy and structural funds for both countries. “We share a similar opinion in this regard with Estonia. We’ll promote the idea that the cohesion policy as a tool to eliminate regional discrepancies should be maintained also after 2020,” he said.

Pellegrini, accompanied by a delegation of businessmen and representatives of the academic community, left Tallinn for Finland earlier in the day. In Helsinki, he’s scheduled to meet the Finnish ministers of education, economy and transport. Pellegrini will mainly be interested in Finland’s visions for the future.