Monday

20th May 2019

Estonia ratifies EU constitution

Estonia has become the 15th country to ratify the EU constitution when its parliament voted with a clear majority in favour of the treaty on Tuesday.

Estonian lawmakers voted 73 in favour and one against with no abstentions on Europe Day (9 May) after the second parliamentary reading.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

The European Commission welcomed the overwhelming support for the EU constitution in the Estonian parliament.

"This is a clear sign of Estonia's European commitment," said commission spokesperson Mikolaj Dowgielewicz.

"Every ratification counts. Those voices who voted 'no' should be heard but it is equally important to listen to the voices of those who voted 'yes'," Mr Dowgielewicz stated.

According to Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet, the constitutional treaty is the best text available at the moment.

"It is a good treaty for Europe, and for Estonia," Mr Paet said in a statement.

"Estonia is declaring that we must increase the efficiency of common endeavours in spheres where it would benefit the security and welfare of the people living in the European Union," Mr Paet added.

Finland is set to be next

Finland is likely to follow suit during its EU presidency - the Nordic country takes over the presidency from Austria on 1 July.

The Finnish parliament is expected to express itself in favour of ratification next Tuesday, kicking off a ratification process which could be finalised by September, said a Finnish diplomat.

Fifteen member states have now ratified the constitution: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain.

But French and Dutch citizens rejected the charter last year, prompting EU leaders to call for a "pause of reflection" on the new treaty, which must be ratified by all 25 member states for it to enter into force.

Two of the EU's most eurosceptic countries, the UK and Denmark, have postponed their referendum on the constitution after the results in France and the Netherlands.

Analysis

Sibiu: EU leaders prepare post-Brexit show of unity

With the European elections just three weeks away, the EU-27 will try to set the agenda for the next years for the EU institutions. But with persisting divisions on key issues, unity will be an achievement in itself.

Exclusive

Ombudsman backs EUobserver on MEP expenses

The European Parliament should have granted access to documents on a decision about how transparent MEPs should be in future with their office expenses, says EU Ombudsman.

EU want Facebook pan-EU advert fix for May elections

EU institutions want Facebook to relax its rules, to allow pan-European political groups to carry out EU-wide campaigns. Facebook has yet to implement the demands - posing questions on the extent to which Europe relies on the US tech firm.

News in Brief

  1. EU flies rainbow flag on anti-homophobia day
  2. EU to freeze money and visas of foreign cyber-attackers
  3. EU reassures US on arms sales
  4. Use euros over dollars in energy contracts, France says
  5. UK cross-party Brexit talks collapse
  6. Climate activists occupy German-Russian gas pipeline
  7. Farage got €515,000 of private perks
  8. French EU commissioner urges Italy not to overspend

Magazine

The changing of the guards in the EU in 2019

The four most powerful EU institutions - Commission, Parliament, Council and Central Bank will all have new leaders in the coming ten months. Here is an overview.

Magazine

Explained: What is the European Parliament?

While domestic political parties often use the European Parliament as a dumping ground for unwanted politicians - and a majority of citizens don't bother to vote - the parliament, over the years, has become a dominant force in the EU.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  3. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  4. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  5. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  6. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  11. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  12. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us