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Sunday 22.10.2017 | Name days: Irīda, Īrisa
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Finland, Estonia see multi-speed EU as acceptable, if model stays open

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President of Estonia Kersti Kaljulaid (L) and her Finnish counterpart Sauli Niinistö

The presidents of Estonia and Finland, The multi-speed model of member state future cooperation in the EU is acceptable, in case closer cooperating countries remain open to for other member states to join in.

After Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid’s meeting with Finnish President Sauli Niinistö in Helsinki on Tuesday, March 7, Kaljulaid evaluated that what mattered was that member states worked together on cross-border issues that individual countries were unable to solve on their own and the different forms of cooperation remained open to all member states.

Estonian public broadcaster ERR reports that Niinistö agreed and pointed to Finland’s experience with various forms of cooperation and evaluated that cooperation should be open to everyone, if they met the necessary criteria.

The heads of governments of France, Germany, Italy and Spain voiced their support for the option of a multi-speed EU future in a summit on Tuesday, March 7, but Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg have all earlier expressed their backing to this option.

Reportedly, on 1 March, head of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker unveiled his plans to save the EU. At the same time, he warned that the bloc has to write a new chapter, considering the upcoming Brexit in 2019.

The former Prime Minister of Luxembourg presented five roads towards unity. EU leaders will have to discuss those roads at the upcoming summit in Rome on 25 March.

Among the proposals is the idea to reduce the EU to the level at which the union would exist only as a single market and create a ‘multi-speed’ Europe, in which similarly-minded member states can realize their plans even if other member states oppose them.

This plan has already caused a great deal of opposition from Eastern European countries, which are worried that traditional heavyweights like Germany and France will shove them aside in matters like immigration.

There has also been dislike voiced in regards to the publication of those plans shortly before important elections in Netherlands, France and Germany.

One of Juncker’s plans provides opportunities for EU countries to integrate at different speeds in different matters like euro currently and defence.

In conclusion, Juncker proposed retaining the current status quo and pushing existing EU member states towards larger unity. At the same time, it would mean more sharp arguments in matters like immigration.

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