The European Parliament is directly elected institution, which represents about 500 million citizens and their interests which are of course very differing. The EP is in close co-operation with the European Commission and European Council; together they produce legislation on issues affecting our daily lives, for example environment protection, consumer rights, equality, transport and the free movement of people, capital and services. Not to mention human rights.
The subjects or topics I am engaged in are mainly connected to the committees and delegations I sit at, although these are rather close to my heart as well.
Among them is, for instance, Iceland, the country that 1st recognised the restoration of the independence of Estonia in 1991. Currently the negotiations on Iceland’s possible accession to the EU are being held. But does the small island-state itself event want to join? Recent polls have showed that people are rather sceptical, even the political groups in Althingi have been said to debate on the issue quite seriously. If Iceland were a Member State, its economic prospects might look better than they do currently in view of the so-called Icesave case, although the latter will not be tied to the negotiations. The EU on the other hand may have a stronger voice in the Arctic region. And this is a region that will attract very much attention in the years to come…
As former Chancellor of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Estonia, I was appointed the Green shadow rapporteur in AFCO regarding the European External Action Service report. Guy Verhofstadt (Belgium, EPP) and Elmar Brok (Germany, S&D) were jointly writing the report on how the new “Ministry of Foreign Affairs EU” must be constructed. This involved months of work on when and where to emphasise Human Rights, how to set up crisis prevention and management, who should be in charge of the delegations, how to deploy development aid, how much and in what areas should the EP have control over their budget and so on.
Of course having such an institution as the EEAS is vital if the EU will want to speak with one voice on a global level – or with its neighbours, for that matter. The issue of energy security is the first practical challenge that comes to mind…
This autumn the European Parliament adopted the Alejo Vidal-Quadras (Spain, EPP) resolution on security of gas supply, which calls for the EU to introduce a regulation in order to further secure gas and energy supply in Europe. The document contains several methods and ideas on how to prevent future gas conflicts as seen in the case of the Russian-Ukrainian problems in recent years. This regulation would provide preventive safety measures to ensure that nobody would be left in to the cold.
This reminds that one has to think beyond (but not excluding) its national borders in Europe. Internet freedom and intellectual property rights are issues that affect us all, especially when EU will introduce reforms in this field in the near future regardless whether you are a consumer or a provider of Internet content, be it written articles, music or videos. How should the EU respond to illegal file sharing? We are living in the 21st century and we all download a variety of things from the net. But what about the people that provide the content? If we chose to restrict downloading in today’s form, what measures can be taken? To what extent can we monitor peoples’ activities online? As anyone may guess, these questions affect us all.
Should there be introduced any directives or regulations on a EU level that the citizens will regard unsuitable, lacking or simply bad and they wish to change it – or even call for creating an entirely new EU policy – they have the chance to do so with the European Citizen Initiative. This is a project going to be launched next year, with the aim of giving EU’s citizens the right to introduce an idea for new legislation by the Commission; the latter has to respond and justify its answer and action that will or will not follow.
This is undoubtedly a big step in the development of the citizen society, moreover that all people from all Member States can have a say. This all will have to follow strict rules that are currently in the making. For example, according to the latest state of play, at least 1 million signatures have to be collected from at least 1/3 of the Member States, plus the number of signatures has to be proportionate to the population of that state. This opens up an even greater window of opportunity for small countries. As for now, the setting up of the system continues.
The creation of the EEAS is one of the most significant changes introduced by the Treaty of Lisbon. Its aim is to make EU’s external policy more consistent and efficient, thereby strengthening EU’s political and economic influence in the world.
This new service is aimed at assisting the High Representative of the Union of Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton, in fulfilling her mandate.
EEAS shall include officials from the Council and the Commission, as well as staff from the national diplomatic services of the 27 EU Member States. It will work in close cooperation with the national diplomatic services of the member states and its delegations outside EU, playing a supporting role regarding diplomatic and consular protection and help of EU citizens in third countries.
Jointly with the European Parliament the service is expected to get up and running as soon as possible. The Council shall adopt the launching of the EEAS on a proposal from the High Representative after consulting the EP and getting an approval from the Commission. The necessary financial and staff regulations, as well as the draft amending budget shall be adopted by co-decision with the EP.
From the 1st of January, 2011, 1525 officials from the office of the Secretary General of the Commission and Council shall be sent to the external action service. There is also an additional 100 newly created posts. In the EEAS there are 1625 posts altogether. The service shall comprise one central administrating unit and 136 formal European Commission’s delegations. The Service headquarters is in Brussels.
Despite the fact that the “double-hatted” HR promised that “the recruitment will be based on merit, with the objective of securing the services of staff of the highest standard of ability, efficiency and integrity, while ensuring adequate geographical balance”, it is now clear that in reality so far there is no such balance regarding the appointment of officials. Naturally it has created a lot of disapproval among the MEPs and debates on the matter are ongoing.
Indeed, it is in the member state’s interest to, for example, present more female candidates for the senior overseas jobs. At the moment, only 11 out of the 115 ambassadors are female. 11 member states are over-represented while 16 are under-represented.
Only two of the newly appointed 115 ambassadors are from EU new member states, and sadly enough, no Estonians among them. Candidates’ language skills, diplomatic job experience just did not reach the threshold of requirements for the posts. Also, alas, the new member states’ geographic position might have not been of advantage.
Catherine Ashton has voiced her criticism about this, talking about the creation of a “Western European old boys club” diplomatic service.
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Né le 3 février 1964 à Tallinn, Estonie
Marié, trois enfants
1972-1983 Diplôme d’études secondaires à Tallinn
1983-1991 Diplôme de l’Université de Tartu, historien/professeur d’histoire
1992-1993 Etudes européennes à l’université Johns Hopkins de Bologne – P. H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies
1984-1985 Service militaire obligatoire de l’Union Soviétique
1997 Formation d’officier de réserve à l’école de combat des Forces de défense
2005 Formation continue pour officiers de réserve Cior Cla, Budapest
1991-1992 Directeur en relations publiques
1993 Envoyé spécial du gouvernement estonien à Narva
1993-1994 Conseiller du Premier Ministre estonien Mart Laar
1994-2002 Secrétaire général du Ministère des affaires étrangères, Ambassadeur Extraordinaire et plénipotentiaire d’Estonie auprès du Saint Siège
2002-2003 Directeur des Ressources humaines, Banque d’Estonie
2003-2009 Journaliste indépendant, présentateur télévision et radio
2005-2009 Directeur du Musée de la guerre- Musée du Général Laidoner
2007 Conseiller auprès du Président Géorgien en matière de réforme de l’administration
Télévision et Radio
Présentateur dans « Êtes-vous plus fort qu’un élève de 10 ans ? »
Présentateur dans une émission de radio hebdomadaire
Membre de la société estonienne des étudiants
Membre Fondateur de l’Union Nationale des officiers de réserve.
Membre du conseil des musées
Commandeur de la Légion d’Honneur
Compagnon de Malte de l’ordre national du mérite
Magna cruce equitem ordinis s.gregorii magni (Vatican)
Ordre de Pologne du mérite, 5ème classe
Ordre mexicain de l’Aigle Aztèque
Ordre estonien de la Croix de la Terra Mariana, 3ème classe
Donneur de sang
Born 3rd of February 1964 in Tallinn, Estonia
Married, father of three children
1971–1982 Tallinn 21st Secondary School
1982–1991 Tartu University, history and political science studies
1992–1993 Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, The Johns Hopkins University, Bologna – European Studies
1983–1985 Compulsory Soviet military service
1997 Battle School of the Defence Forces – reserve officers’ course
2005 Reserve officers’ additional course Cior Cla in Budapest
1991–1992 Tartu Maja – PR Manager
1993 Special representative of Government of the Republic of Estonia in Narva
1993–1994 Advisor to prime minister Mart Laar
1994–2002 Chancellor at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, representative of Government of the Republic of Estonia at the Holy See, Vatican
2002–2003 Chief of Staff at the Bank of Estonia
2002-2003 Chief executive of Estonian Hunter’s Society
2003–2009 Freelance journalist, television and radio host
2005–2009 Director at The Estonian War Museum – General Laidoner Museum
2007 Advisor to the Administration of the President of Georgia
Television and Radio work
„Teletaip“ – “Have I Got News For You”
„Targem kui 5B“ – “Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader?”
„Tantsud tähtedega“ – “Dancing with the Stars”
Member of Estonian Student Society
Founder of the Estonian Reserve Officers’ Association
Member of the Museum Committee in Estonia
Indrek Tarand has published numerous articles on a regular basis.
Commandeur de la Légion d`Honneur (France)
Companion of the National Order of Merit (Malta)
Magna cruce equitem ordinis s.gregorii magni (Vatican)
Order of the Merit of the Polish People’s Republic (5th class)
The Royal Norwegian Order of Merit (Norway)
Order of the Aztec Eagle (Mexico)
Order of the White Star Third Class (Estonia)