Government and ministries Media

Ministerial Committee on European Union Affairs: UK citizens' right of residence in Finland secured by a special act

Government Communications Department 25.1.2019 9.29 | Published in English on 25.1.2019 at 11.54
Press release 41/2019

At its meeting on 25 January, the Ministerial Committee on European Union Affairs decided on the need to prepare a special act to continue UK citizens’ right of residence in Finland for a fixed term. The act is needed to prepare for the eventuality of a no-deal Brexit, where the UK withdraws from the EU without an agreement at the end of March.

The purpose of the special act is to make sure that UK citizens who are living in Finland and who have registered their right of residence as EU citizens may continue to stay and live in Finland on a temporary basis without any separate measures. Should a no-deal Brexit happen, an estimated 5,000 UK citizens already living in Finland would have to apply for a residence permit at a very short notice. For the special act to enter into force before the end of March, it must be enacted as soon as possible.

The European Commission recommends that Member States prepare for a no-deal Brexit and, as a temporary solution, allow UK citizens living in Member States to continue their right of residence. Many Member States are enacting temporary legislation to secure this objective.

The Ministerial Committee on European Union Affairs also outlined Finland's positions for the following Council configurations:

  • Agriculture and Fisheries Council (28 January)
  • Informal Defence Ministers’ meeting (30–31 January)
  • Informal Foreign Ministers’ meeting (Gymnich) 31 January–1 February

On the agenda of the Agriculture and Fisheries Council is the reform of the common agricultural policy, which is linked to the negotiations on the Multiannual Financial Framework of the EU.

The topics to be discussed at the informal Defence Ministers’ meeting include the Global Strategy of the EU's Foreign and Security Policy, interlinkages of the defence initiatives of the EU, and impact of technology innovations on the armed forces. Finland considers it important that the defence initiatives constitute a coherent whole. If the EU wants to be an active player in the defence sector, it must develop its activities together with its partners and keep up with the technological advancement, and be capable of responding to international competition

The topics on the agenda of the Informal Foreign Ministers’ meeting are eastern partnership, situation in Syria, and the state of the EU-China relations and how these could be developed. In the EU-China relations a more strategic approach would be needed e.g. with regard to trade relations.

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