Prime Minister Sipilä discussed Finland’s Presidency of the Council of the EU with Baltic and Polish leaders

Government Communications Department 7.3.2019 16.24
Press release 141/2019
photo: Jürgen-Randma (Riigikantselei)

Prime Minister Juha Sipilä visited Lithuania and Poland on Wednesday 6 March and Latvia and Estonia on Thursday 7 March, where he had thorough discussions on Finland’s upcoming Presidency of the Council of the European Union and other topical EU affairs with Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaité and Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis, Prime Minister of Poland Mateusz Morawiecki, Prime Minister of Latvia Krišjānis Kariņš and Prime Minister of Estonia Jȕri Ratas.

Prime Minister Sipilä thanked his colleagues for their valuable inputs into the joint letter stressing the important role of the EU’s Single Market and the need for its further development that was sent to the President of the European Council Donald Tusk at the end of February. The letter was drafted on Finland’s initiative and it has been signed by 17 EU Member States.

“A deeper Single Market than we have at present combined with open and rule-based trade policy are highly important in terms of creating sustainable economic growth in the EU. They are the key to jobs and wellbeing for the citizens”, Prime Minister Sipilä says.

At each of the meetings Prime Minister Sipilä raised two other main themes of Finland’s Presidency, i.e. security and climate change mitigation.

“Besides limiting emissions we must also swiftly find means to increase carbon sinks and develop technologies for capturing carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere. Such technologies are being developed in several EU countries. Finland is among the trailblazers in turning arable lands into carbon sinks in the same way as forests are now.”

At the meeting with the Polish Prime Minister Morawiecki Prime Minister Sipilä also talked about the measures launched by the EU relating to the rule of law situation in Poland.

“Upholding the rule of law is a key issue in terms of the functioning and credibility of the EU, and this is what is the most important for the citizens of the Member States. It is important that the constructive dialogue between Poland and the EU will continue. The rule of law issues will be on the agenda of Finland’s Presidency as well”, Prime Minister Sipilä says.

At the meetings with the Prime Ministers of the Baltic States Prime Minister Sipilä also talked about the Rail Baltica project. Rail Baltica is a new, 1000-kilometre-long railway connection from Tallinn through the Baltic States to Warsaw, planned to be completed by 2026. Finland decided to join the Rail Baltica Joint Ventures as a shareholder in early February.

“For the Finnish transport sector Rail Baltica opens up a new route to important market areas, and there would also be Finnish contractors employed in the project. Another aim in developing railway connections is to promote more ecological tourism. As a shareholder Finland has the opportunity to participate in decision-making and to help make sure that the project stays on schedule”, Prime Minister Sipilä says.

The meetings were part of a series of meetings by Prime Minister Sipilä leading up to Finland’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union. Prime Minister Sipilä has now discussed with 24 heads of EU Member States, and he aims to meet leaders of all EU countries before Finland’s Presidency, which will start in July.

Photos from the meetings in the Government's Flickr account

Inquiries: Kare Halonen, State Secretary for EU Affairs, tel. +358 295 160 319, Niina Nurkkala, Special Adviser (EU Affairs), tel. +358 50 347 2661, and Anne Sjöholm, Head of Communications for EU Affairs, tel. +358 40 537 0733, Prime Minister’s Office