Ministerial Committee on EU Affairs discuss issues on agenda at European Council
The Ministerial Committee on European Union Affairs of Prime Minister Petteri Orpo’s Government met for the first time on Wednesday 28 June. The Ministerial Committee outlined Finland’s positions on the matters to be discussed at the June European Council and on the Commission’s Communication on a European economic security strategy.
Topics on the agenda for the European Council in Brussels on 29–30 June include Ukraine, the economy, security and defence, migration and external relations. Finland considers it important that the EU continue its strong, effective and united response to Russia’s military attacks against Ukraine. The EU must continue and increase its political, financial and military support and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine. It is essential that the EU consistently ramp up its sanctions on Russia and take measures to prevent circumvention. Russia and its representatives must be brought to justice for the illegal war of aggression and its consequences. It is important for the EU to strengthen its partnerships globally as a counterforce to Russia.
With respect to the economy, Finland’s position is that fair competition, a well-functioning single market, active trade policy and the efficient use of existing EU resources form the foundation for the EU’s competitiveness. The Union must develop its economic security strategy and strengthen its partnerships.
In the Ministerial Committee’s view, the capacity of the European defence industry must be strengthened so that the EU Member States can support Ukraine, increase their own stocks of defence materiel and develop industry in the sector.
With regard to migration, it is important to seek common and comprehensive solutions. In managing migration, Finland stresses the importance of targeting assistance to those in greatest need and ensuring strong external borders. It is important to prevent the instrumentalisation of migration and make use of the EU’s development and trade policy and external relations to reach readmission agreements with third countries.
With respect to external relations, the European Council will focus on the forthcoming EU-Latin America and Caribbean Summit and on China. In the current geopolitical situation, Finland considers it important for the EU to remain united and strengthen its ability to influence China. The EU must work towards effective relations with China, while reducing strategic dependencies on the country. China must use its influence on Russia to end Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine.
Economic security strategy
The Ministerial Committee on European Union Affairs also outlined Finland’s position on the European Commission’s 20 June Communication on a European Economic Security Strategy.
Finland considers it important for the EU to develop a strategy to ensure economic security. Finland supports the approach of the Commission Communication, which aims to promote the EU’s competitiveness, protect against risks to economic security and strengthen the EU’s partnerships. In Finland’s view, the EU must safeguard its economic security by developing its strengths, such as the single market, while strengthening its strategic competitiveness and engaging in open and rules-based international trade. The EU cannot break away from global production chains, but it is important to reduce dependencies, especially with regard to critical raw materials. It must be possible to intervene in activities that distort competition. Critical infrastructure must be protected and digital resilience must be seen as a key component of economic security. The EU’s economic security solutions must be based on carefully considered situational awareness and thorough risk analysis. The selected measures must be knowledge-based, targeted and proportionate. Finland also stresses the importance of working together to strengthen economic security, especially with the United States and other like-minded partner countries.
Inquiries: Tuomas Tikkanen, Special Adviser (EU Affairs), tel. +358 40 523 5768, Jari Luoto, Director General, EU Affairs Department, tel. +358 50 468 5949, and Anne Sjöholm, Head of Communications for EU Affairs, tel. +358 40 537 07 33, Prime Minister’s Office