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Ministerial Committee on EU Affairs discuss European Council meeting and Euro Summit

Government Communications Department
9.12.2020 11.06 | Published in English on 9.12.2020 at 15.27
Press release 772/2020

In its meeting on Wednesday 9 December, the Ministerial Committee on European Union Affairs discussed Finland’s positions leading up to the December European Council (10–11 December) and the Euro Summit (11 December). The topics on the agenda for the European Council are the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, security issues and external relations. The European Council may also discuss the recovery package agreed on at the July European Council, with a particular focus on the rule of law mechanism connected to it. The discussion may also address the state of negotiations on the future relationship between the EU and the UK

Finland supports the EU’s strong joint efforts to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, such as coordinated testing and quarantine practices and mutual recognition of tests. In Finland’s view, it is important to ensure that the EU’s actions do not restrict the ability of a Member State to implement restrictions differing from those in place in other Member States if this is necessary in order to safeguard the functioning of public health and society.

Finland supports tightening the EU’s 2030 emissions reduction target from at least 40 per cent to at least 55 per cent compared to the 1990 levels. This objective should be achieved primarily by reducing emissions. The target must be in line with the climate neutrality target agreed for 2050. 
In Finland’s view, in order to safeguard citizens, it is important to develop the capacity of the authorities to respond to terrorism and other changing threats to internal security in the EU while also respecting fundamental and human rights. 

On the topic of external relations, the European Council will discuss the relationship between the EU and Turkey and the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean. The European Council will also discuss the relationship between the EU and the USA and will assess the need to continue the restrictive measures imposed in response to Russia’s destabilising actions in Ukraine.

The Euro Summit on Friday will discuss the reform of the European Stability Mechanism and take stock of progress on the banking union and the capital markets union. The meeting intends to confirm the agreement on strengthening the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) reached by the extended Eurogroup in November. 

In addition, the Ministerial Committee on European Union Affairs agreed on Finland’s positions on pre-emptively influencing the trade policy communication expected from the Commission at the beginning of next year. Trade policy plays an important role in promoting the Union’s sustainable growth and competitiveness.

The Ministerial Committee on EU Affairs also agreed on Finland’s positions concerning the European Health Union and the pharmaceutical strategy for Europe. The proposed initiatives aim to improve the EU’s preparedness for future health threats and to guarantee the high quality and safety of medicines while strengthening the global competitiveness of the European pharmaceutical industry. Finland welcomes both initiatives.

Inquiries: Jari Luoto, State Under-Secretary for European Affairs, tel. +358 50 468 5949, Tuulia Pitkänen, Special Adviser (EU Affairs), tel. +358 295 160 231, Kare Halonen, State Secretary for EU Affairs, tel. +358 295 160 319, and Anne Sjöholm, Head of Communications for EU Affairs, tel. +358 40 537 0733, Prime Minister’s Office