Sunday, 28 May 2017

Minister of State Murphy visits Tallinn for discussions on EU digital agenda and Brexit ahead of Estonian Presidency

The Minister of State for European Affairs, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, Dara Murphy TD, today began a two-day visit to Tallinn for a series of engagements in the Estonian capital focusing on the forthcoming Estonian EU Presidency, EU Digital Single Market issues, Brexit, and the wider EU agenda. Estonia will take up the six-month rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union for the first time from 1 July.

During the visit Minister Murphy will meet with Minister for Foreign Affairs Mr Sven Mikser and with Deputy Minister for EU Affairs Mr Matti Maasikas, the incoming Chair of the General Affairs Council, as well as with the European Affairs Committee of the Estonian Parliament. The Minister will also engage with the Irish Estonian Business Network and visit the e-Estonia showroom which showcases how the country has transitioned to one of the world’s most advanced digital societies.

Speaking from Tallinn, Minister Murphy said:

“I am delighted to have the opportunity to visit Tallinn shortly before Estonia takes up the EU Presidency for the first time. While we’re on opposite geographic sides of the EU, Ireland and Estonia share many similarities and common interests within the Union and we are strongly supportive of the priorities that Estonia has identified for its Presidency. I welcome in particular the focus on EU Digital Single Market issues and the broader digital agenda and I wish Estonia every success for its Presidency.

“Estonia, like Ireland, is among the most digitally-advanced EU Member States and during this visit I look forward to learning about the country’s experience of e-Government, its advances in the wider digital sphere and its transition into one of the world’s leading digital societies.

“Ireland’s concerns on Brexit are well understood by our EU partners and in Tallinn I will have the opportunity to continue our engagement on Brexit with our Estonian colleagues who will play an important role in the forthcoming negotiations as the Presidency of the EU Council. I will thank them for their understanding and support regarding our unique concerns, including the political importance of avoiding a hard border on the island of Ireland. We will also discuss the importance of a constructive approach to the negotiations so that positive progress can be made on the issues of importance to our citizens and our businesses.”

The Minister’s visit to Tallinn (today and tomorrow) follows on from a visit to Prague yesterday (Monday) where he met with Czech Deputy Foreign Minister Mr Jakub Dürr to discuss Brexit, the Future of Europe and EU Digital Single Market issues.