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The Estonian Presidency of the Council of the European Union priorities in the areas of culture, audiovisual affairs and sports

Besides the European Commission’s objectives and working plans, the Presidency’s priorities also have an important role. These are topics to which the presidency country would like to draw more attention. The country that holds the presidency can decide, which topics will be worked on more intensively, while taking into account the wishes and interests of other Member States as well. The final content of the agreements, however, depends on all the other Member States and institutions.

  • In the field of culture, during the Presidency the focus will be on access to culture and cultural heritage in the digital era.
  • In audiovisual affairs, we hope to reach an agreement that will bring about a legal space in the European Union that is more equal, takes into account technological advances and is safer for the consumer.
  • In sports, we will highlight the role of coaches in society.

In all our main topics, our objective is to arrive at significant agreements between Member States that will impact the future of Estonia as well as the rest of Europe.


In the field of culture: we will seek solutions to bringing audiences and cultural content together in a better way in the digital era


In the field of culture, as the Presidency state we will focus on access to culture and cultural heritage during the digital turn era. We will discuss how to involve the audience in a more effective way at a time when digital technologies have changed how cultural content is consumed, created and accessed. We have to find solutions that these changes demand of cultural institutions and ways in which existing digital collections could be brought closer to the user. Experience shows that the best results come about when cultural institutions and the public work together.


In the field of audiovisual affairs: we will lead the renewal of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive


Europe needs a legal space for audiovisual media services that keeps pace with modern times. Estonia will continue to stand against excessive regulation, so that the development of new services would not be threatened by norms that are too narrow or rigid. However, all market actors do have to follow common rules and that is in all of our interest. As the Presidency state, we would like to keep the balance and, on the one hand, stand for a favourable environment for content services development and for the equal treatment of all participants. On the other hand, however, we also stand for the protection of our common values to ensure a safer environment for the consumers – especially children –, where there is no room for those who incite hate, violence and terrorism.



In the field of sport: we will focus attention on the role of coaches in society


Instead of seeing coaches as just sports guidance providers, looking at them as the ones who teach the principles of playing a fair game, who teach necessary life skills, who develop habits related to physical activity, and who create cohesion in society – this topic is a novel and current one for Member States as well as the wider EU level. We would like to draw attention to the extensive social impact that the activities of coaches have and emphasise the fact that seeing the role of coaches through a wider perspective also opens up new opportunities for mitigating some of society’s challenges.


Video: Summary of the EU Council on Education, youth, culture and sport press conference in sport


What events will take place in Estonia during the presidency?

During the presidency, 223 events will take place in Tallinn, including 11 ministerial meetings.

The Ministry of Culture will organise five expert conferences during the presidency:

12-13 July Cultural heritage conference, Tartu
13-14 July Sports conference on the role of coaches, Tallinn
21-22 September Sports conference on promoting sport, physical activities and athletes’ dual career in and with universities, Tartu
21-22 September Arhitectural Policies Conference and networking meeting on architecture and policies, Tallinn
15 November European Integration Network Meeting, Tallinn
27-28 November Audiovisual Conference, Tallinn

On 23 September, the Third European Sports Week will be offcially opened in Tartu in cooperation with the 20th Tartu Cycling Marathon. On that day, it is expected that more than 3,000 children will participate in the children’s races in Tartu.


Introducing Estonia

The responsibilities related to the presidency place us in the role of being the spokesperson for the European Union for six months, and this will also attract much greater attention to our country.
Along with fulfilling the role of the presidency in Brussels, it is also essential to organise events in Estonia. At these meetings it is important to raise topics and initiate discussions related to the main themes of the Estonia’s presidency, and thereby involve opinion leaders from all over Europe. At the meetings, conference and visits that occur in Estonia, we can also introduce our country and our smart solutions to a very wide-ranging audience.

International programme

The international programmes for Estonia’s Presidency of the Council of the EU and the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Estonia (EV100) aim to more broadly introduce Estonia to the world. The programme is sponsoring more than 150 cultural, educational, scientific and technological events to take place in foreign countries in 2017 and 2018.

The cultural programme of the presidency in Brussels

In light of the presidency of the EU, we have been paying special attention to events in Brussels. One priority is to focus on collaborating with two important cultural centres, which will play an important role in co-organising top cultural events and reaching local audiences.

The Bozar Centre for Fine Art will host several events related to Estonia. In addition to various musical performances, Bozar will also be an important partner in the presentation of the fine arts, architecture and other fields.

Just as important is the collaboration with Flagey, with whom an impressive programme related to Estonia has been developed, which includes a variety of moods – from chamber music and choirs to jazz.

100th birthday of the Republic of Estonia


In addition to holding the Presidency of the Council of the EU in the second half of 2017, the Republic of Estonia will also be celebrating its 100th anniversary on 24 February 2018. The celebration of Estonia’s 100th anniversary will start in April of 2017 when, 100 years ago, the territory settled by Estonians was united. The celebrations will peak on the date marking the centennial jubilee, and continue until 2 February 2020, which will mark 100 years since the Tartu Peace Treaty, which ended the Estonian War of Independence, was signed.

Everyone is invited to participate in the celebration of the centennial of the Republic of Estonia by organising events and giving gifts. The gifts are events and initiatives that will bring joy to people, communities and the entire nation, and will aim to create a better future.

Gifts and events will be added to the EV100 programme until the end of the centennial period, and more information is available on the EV100 website.

Read more about Estonia’s presidency of the EU on the website for Estonia’s Presidency of the Council of the EU.



Heili Jõe
Adviser for European Union Affairs
+372 628 2228


Kai-Ines Nelson
Ministry of Culture/Spokesperson (EYCS)
+372 55689644
+372 6282271


Last updated: 14 May 2019