06/26/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 06/26/2019 06:40
The priorities for Finland's Presidency of the Council of the European Union are to strengthen common values and the rule of law, to make the EU more competitive and socially inclusive, to strengthen the EU's position as a global leader in climate action and to protect the security of citizens comprehensively. Finland's Presidency Programme was published on Wednesday 26 June.
'Finland is about to launch its Presidency of the Council of the European Union, and in this role we can make an impact on the future of the EU. Whether Finland is seen as a small or a big EU member is up to us. The more active we are, the bigger our profile to others. The future of the EU should be socially, economically and ecologically sustainable. The slogan for our Presidency neatly states the goal: 'Sustainable Europe - Sustainable Future',' said Prime Minister Antti Rinne, presenting the programme to the Finnish Parliament.
'A key priority of Finland's Presidency is the EU's global leadership in climate action. In the 2020s, the EU will have the chance to fulfil the expectations of its citizens by taking the lead in addressing the major challenges faced by humanity. The crucial one is climate change, which is why the time for 'yes, but' policies for combating climate change is over. In Finland, in the EU and in the world,' the Prime Minister said.
According to Finland's Presidency Programme, the common denominator for all EU action should be sustainability, which includes implementation both within and beyond the EU of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The EU should raise its profile as a global leader in climate action by adopting a long-term climate strategy aimed at making the EU carbon neutral by 2050.
'Sustainability also ties in with the EU's shared values. Human rights, freedom, democracy, equality and the rule of law are all values that EU countries commit to as part of membership,' said Prime Minister Rinne.
According to Finland's Presidency Programme, the single market, rules-based free trade and up-to-date regulation of a high standard are the elements that make the EU collectively competitive. The emphasis must be on taking full advantage of research, development, innovation and digitalisation. By fostering skills, education and training, regional and social fairness, and gender equality, the EU will create sustainable growth and wellbeing for its citizens.
'The EU works best when we increase people's wellbeing and security and reduce inequality,' said Prime Minister Rinne.
The programme states that to protect the security of citizens comprehensively, it is essential to strengthen the EU's internal and external security and its defence cooperation, including measures to counter hybrid threats.
Finland will hold the Presidency of the Council of the European Union from 1 July to 31 December 2019. In this capacity, Finland will chair the formal Council meetings in Brussels and Luxembourg and the informal meetings of ministers held in Finland. The six informal meetings of ministers will be held in Helsinki's Finlandia Hall, which will also be the venue for a large number of meetings of working groups and experts.
Inquiries: Jari Luoto, State Under-Secretary for EU Affairs, tel. +358 50 468 5949, Pilvi-Elina Kupias, Special Adviser (EU Affairs), tel. +358 295 160 995, Dimitri Qvintus, Special Adviser (Media Relations), tel. +358 50 574 0956, Kare Halonen, State Secretary for EU Affairs, tel. +358 295 160 319, Anne Sjöholm, Head of Communications for EU Affairs, tel. +358 40 537 0733, Prime Minister's Office