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7/2/17

Estonia: A sustainable Europe through business unusual – by Lauri Tammiste

As Estonia begins its EU presidency on 1 July, business as usual won’t cut it. We need business unusual and Estonia’s successful track record in the last 25 years gives us hope that it will be able to make its mark, writes Lauri Tammiste.

Estonian society has gone through radical changes over the past 25 years, and its bold decisions on economic policies, the IT sector and politics have paid off. Now it’s time to apply the same radical thinking to environmental policy and business. As Estonia begins its EU presidency, business as usual won’t cut it. We need business unusual.

Saturday marks the start of Estonia’s first EU presidency, a tenure that brings the opportunity to find “unity through balance” – as the presidency motto goes – when tackling Europe’s most pressing challenges and motivating other member states to come along. One of the challenges is how to transition to a climate-resilient, smart economy.

Though many have focused on Estonia’s goals for the digital internal market, security and migration policies, the country has also made environment and sustainability a top priority. We applaud this foresight. EU environmental regulations are often perceived as burdensome and causing headaches, but they also positively impact society in ways we often take for granted.

Wastewater treatment systems are now more efficient, for example, and the quality of tap water has increased. EU directives on renewable energy have also helped to shape a framework for our country to invest into better alternatives than oil shale.

Now Estonia – together with our fellow EU members – is set to address another looming issue: How can we transition to an economy that is low-carbon and climate resilient?

Read more: A sustainable Europe through business unusual – EURACTIV.com

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