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Ministerial Committee on EU Affairs: EU–UK agreements must be signed this year

Government Communications Department
28.12.2020 13.25 | Published in English on 28.12.2020 at 16.05
Press release 816/2020

The Ministerial Committee on European Union Affairs is of the view that the Council must still make a decision on the signing and provisional application of the agreements on the future EU–UK relationship before the end of 2020. This will prevent a “no-deal” scenario, in which the EU and UK fail to sign the agreements before the Brexit transition period ends on 31 December 2020. The Ministerial Committee on EU Affairs adopted its position on Monday 28 December in a written procedure. 

The Ministerial Committee on EU Affairs stated that the Trade and Cooperation Agreement and the separate agreements on information security and nuclear cooperation negotiated between the Commission and the UK are, as a whole, in line with the EU’s and Finland’s negotiating objectives. 

The Committee is of the view that, in this exceptional situation, the agreements can be signed and concluded on behalf of the Union without national ratification by the Member States. The agreements would apply provisionally until 28 February 2021 at the latest. The objective is that, by then, the European Parliament will have had time to approve the agreements, after which the Council will make separate decisions on adopting them. Only after this can the agreements enter into force definitively.  

“The Government considers it important that the new Trade and Cooperation Agreement can be applied immediately at the turn of the year. The agreement is not equivalent to EU membership, but it is in the best interest of both the EU and the UK in this situation, and it is much better than a ‘no-deal’ scenario. The Grand Committee of Parliament will formulate Parliament’s position on the matter at its meeting this afternoon,” said Minister for European Affairs Tytti Tuppurainen.

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