Ministers for European Affairs to prepare for European Council and discuss coordination of EU response to COVID-19
The main themes of the General Affairs Council meeting on Tuesday 11 May in Brussels will be the preparations for the special European Council on 24–25 May and the coordination of the EU’s response to COVID-19. Minister of European Affairs and Ownership Steering Tytti Tuppurainen is unable to attend the meeting due to quarantine regulations and Parliament’s vote on the EU recovery package on Wednesday 12 May. As a result, Finland’s permanent representative to the European Union, Ambassador Marja Rislakki, will represent Finland at the meeting.
The topics of the special European Council will be the EU’s actions to combat climate change, the coordination of the EU’s response to COVID-19 and relations with Russia. The General Affairs Council will take note of the agenda for the special European Council.
With regard to EU coordination in response to COVID-19, Finland’s view is that the EU’s joint vaccine procurement has proved to be a successful and indispensable practice, but every effort must still be made to speed up the vaccine delivery timetable. Finland is prepared to advocate for a common European vaccination certificate and stresses the importance of promoting global solidarity in order to guarantee vaccine availability.
The Council will also be briefed by the Portuguese Presidency on the progress of the Conference on the Future of Europe and on matters related to EU enlargement and EU-Switzerland relations.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, this is the first meeting of the General Affairs Council to be held in person since October 2020.
In the General Affairs Council (GAC), the EU Member States are primarily represented by their ministers for European affairs. The tasks of the Council include preparations for the European Council meetings. The GAC is also responsible for a number of cross-cutting policy areas, including negotiations on the multiannual financial framework and EU enlargement. Questions relating to the rule of law are also an established part of the Council’s agenda.
Inquiries: Heli Siivola, Senior Specialist for EU Affairs, tel. +358 295 160 476, and Pilvi-Elina Kupias, Special Adviser, tel. +358 295 160 995, Prime Minister’s Office