Estonia´s positions and priorities
EU 2020 strategy
Priorities in Competitiveness Council
European Union patent
At present patents in Europe can be validated nationally or via the European Patent Organization (EPO) which was established with a convention and is validating European patents.
According to the draft EU Patent Regulation the European inventors could valdate a single patent that would be a unitary title enforcable all through the European Union. The EU patent should decrease the administrative burden, including the costs incurred, and support innovation because the EU patent would be simpler to validate and protection would be more accessile and predictable in a clear legislative framework.
It was also planned to create a new unified patent litigation system based on a treaty and exclusively competent single jurisdiction concerning the infringement and validity of European and EU patents.
As no agreement was found on certain issues, primarily regarding the translation arrangement, 13 Member States, including Estonia, have presented the European Commission a request for establishing enhanced cooperation in the field of EU patent.
EU Single Market
The Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions COM (2010) 608 final „Towards a Single Market Act for a highly competitive social market economy - 50 proposals for improving our work, business and exchanges with one another“ was published on October 27, 2010. The main objective of the Communication is to eliminate the bottlenecks inhibiting the development of the internel market and restore the trust of the citizens of Europe in the single market.
Strong single market is one of the key priorities for Estonia. Well functioning EU internal market is a pre-condition for economic growth and increases competitiveness as well as offers opportunities for creation of new jobs. We are interested in achieving a single market with as small differences as possible. We are looking forward to a Single Market Act that would highlight such important areas for us as digital single market, further development in services market and creation of a favourable business environment for SME-s.
- It is important for Estonia that the creation of a digital single market is central and inseparable part of the single market re-launch process. The opportunities offered by information and communication technologies should be made use of to the maximum possible extent. In relation to that Estonia also supports moving forward in the field of intellectual property law, including copyright law, which is one of the pre-requisites of a functioning digital single market. Estonia stresses the need to connect business register and ensure mutual recognition of e-identification and e-authentification.
- Regarding services sector Estonia is geared towards the end result which should bring along as much freedom in provision of services in all areas all through the internal market as possible. We consider it important to take follow-up measures based on full implementation and results of mutual evaluation in order to further improve the functioning of services market of the European Union.
- Estonia supports initiatives that ensure better functioning of the single market in the interests of citizens and entrepreneurs, incl. implementation of the Small Business Act, adoption of the Statute for the European Private Company and legislation governing collective redress of consumers as well as establishing a European Free Movement Card.
- Estonia is looking forward to rapid approval of legislation regarding the EU patent and the single patent jurisdiction. We are interested in creating a simple and cost-effective translation arrangement and therefore we support the solution offered by the Commission proposal as amended by certain additional measures proposed during the Belgian presidency. As no agreement involving all the Member States was found despite lengthy negotiations, Estonia decided to join with the initiative to establish enhanced cooperation in the field of EU patent on the condition that the enhanced cooperation treats the patent issue integrally and the content of the cooperation is acceptable and leads to results.
- Estonia considers it important to develop the necessary infrastructure that supports the functioning of the single market and participation in it.
- The external dimension of the single market should be developed via bi- and multilateral free trade agreements.
- Estonia supports as extensively as possible harmonization of indirect taxes and abolition of exceptions as well as productive cross-border co-operation.
- Estonia supports updating and simplifying public procurement rules as it enables to diminish the differences between the practices in the Member States and increase the share of cross-border procurements.
- Estonia supports the steps taken by the Commission with the view to ensure that Member States implement directives in timely and correct manner. It is important to increase the mutual trust between the Member States.
- In addition to initiatives set forth in the Single Market Act Estonia finds it necessary to establish legal mechanisms that would enable European Union companies to effectively enjoy the freedom of establishment stipulated by the treaties and introduce a concrete initiative for a single European contract law instrument which would diminish the costs resulting from fragmentation of regulations, increase the legal certainty for entrepreneurs and trust for consumers.
Priorities in Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Council
Energy Strategy 2020 and Energy Infrastructure priorities for 2020 and 2030
During the Hungarian Presidency the main focus will be on the developments concerning the new Energy Strategy 2020 and Energy Infrastructure priorities for 2020 and 2030 published in November 2010. The Energy Strategy is scheduled to be adopted at the European Council on February 4, 2011. The Council is also expected to give a political direction to further steps to be taken in the framework of the strategy and infrastructure communication.
The aim of the Energy Strategy 2020 is to identify general actions in different energy fields that should constitute the focus of the EU’s energy policy until the year 2020. The Commission has highlighted 5 priorities that are in the centre of the strategy:
1) Achieving an energy efficient Europe;
2) Building a truly pan-European integrated energy market;
3) Empowering consumers and achieving the highest level of safety and security;
4) Extending Europe’s leadership in energy technology and innovation;
5) Strengthening the external dimension of the EU energy market.
To deliver the necessary energy infrastructure by 2020, the EU Energy Infrastructure package stresses the need for a completely new way of EU infrastructure policy – moving away from the national focus to a European view - planning and approval of key infrastructures that are essential for the EU's energy policy and whose benefits go beyond single Member States. To realise this new approach, the Commission proposes a new method for strategic planning, criteria for identifying projects of European interest and four short-term and two long-term priorities. To speed up the implementation of the projects of European interest, the communication foresees the following tools: regional cooperation, improved permitting procedures and innovative financial instruments.
Estonia would like to see that the Energy Strategy that will be adopted at the European Council in February includes reference to fair competition rules for EU power producers vis-à-vis non-EEA actors, covers the energy infrastructure financing issues and the importance of EU’s indigenous resources. It is very important for Estonia that the new financing instrument that is suggested in the infrastructure package will address also direct support mechanisms in addition to market based measures in order to secure the development of energy interconnections in a more peripheral areas of the EU. Estonia supports the non-binding nature of the EU 20% energy efficiency target. Estonia would also like to see a reference made to the regulation of electricity imports from the non-EEA countries in the forthcoming communication on the external dimension of EU energy policy.
European Union infratstructure package
In spring 2011, the Commission intends to publish a white paper on transport policy until 2020.
In the future transport policy duscussions Estonia wishes to develop its connections with neighbouring countries and ensure the improving quality of domestic infrastructure.
Single European Railway Area
The foreseen recast will concern three directives (2001/12/EC, 2001/13/EC ja 2001/14/EC). The aim of the process is to simplify the legislation of the rail transport domain.
Estonia supports the principle of the recast of the directives and its aim to simplify legislation. In specific issues Estonia draws attention to its specifities (e.g. different rail gauge).