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Ministerial Committee on European Union Affairs sets Finland’s EU policy priorities for coming years

Government Communications Department
Publication date 17.1.2024 10.37 | Published in English on 17.1.2024 at 15.54
Press release
Suomen ja EU:n liput vierekkäin

In its meeting on 17 January, the Ministerial Committee on European Union Affairs outlined Finland’s policy priorities for the 2024–2029 EU parliamentary term. The Committee also discussed the Commission’s proposal to establish a Reform and Growth Facility for the Western Balkans. In addition, the Ministerial Committee outlined Finland’s positions for the two Council meetings taking place next week.

In line with the Government Programme, the Ministerial Committee on European Union Affairs outlined Finland’s key EU policy priorities for the coming years. Finland’s priorities support the European Council’s strategic agenda, which defines the Union’s policy objectives for the next five-year period. The EU leaders will decide on the strategic agenda after the European Parliament elections in June. Finland will also pursue its policy priorities in the programme for the next European Commission. 

Finland’s policy priorities for the 2024–2029 EU parliamentary term are the following:

1.    Strengthening Europe’s strategic competitiveness
The EU’s strategic competitiveness over the long term should be based on further developing the Union’s strengths and implementing market-based solutions. A well-functioning single market plays a key role in this work. With regard to finances and financing, it is important for each Member State to bear responsibility for the sustainability of its public finances.

2.    Improving comprehensive security in Europe 
The European Union must become a stronger geopolitical player. The Union must strengthen its resilience to crises, and Finland’s comprehensive security and approach to security of supply support this objective. Finland is in favour of deepening defence cooperation and establishing a single market for defence materiel, for instance. The EU must continue its strong support for Ukraine. The EU must secure its strong external borders while preventing the instrumentalisation of migration.

3.    Promoting a clean transition and the bioeconomy and circular economy
The EU must continue its measures to combat climate change and support biodiversity in a way that takes into account the different circumstances in the Member States. The clean transition will be implemented cost-effectively using a technology-neutral approach. Measures to improve energy efficiency should focus on reducing emissions rather than limiting consumption. 

The Ministerial Committee on European Union Affairs also discussed the European Commission’s proposal to establish a Reform and Growth Facility for the Western Balkans. The total value of the instrument would be EUR 6 billion, consisting of EUR 2 billion in grants and EUR 4 billion in loans. The goal of the facility is to speed up the convergence of the region with the EU single market, accelerate its socio-economic development and bring it closer to the Union. The proposal is part of the Growth Plan for the Western Balkans, which aims to support reforms in the Western Balkan countries and speed up their EU membership process. Finland welcomes the establishment of the reform and growth facility. Finland will finalise its position in connection with the mid-term revision of the multiannual financial framework (MFF) in line with Finland’s overall interests. 

The Ministerial Committee on also outlined Finland’s positions for the following Council meetings: 

•    Foreign Affairs Council on 22 January
•    Agriculture and Fisheries Council on 23 January

The Foreign Affairs Council will focus on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the situation in Israel and its neighbouring areas.

Topics on the agenda for the Agriculture and Fisheries Council include the proposed regulation on monitoring the state of forests. The Council will also discuss the programme for the Belgian Presidency, trade-related agricultural issues and the future of agriculture in Europe.

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