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Ministers for European Affairs to prepare for October European Council

Government Communications Department
Publication date 17.10.2022 14.39
Press release

The EU General Affairs Council will meet in Luxembourg on Tuesday 18 October. Topics on the agenda for the meeting include preparations for the October European Council, rule of law issues, the follow-up to the Conference on the Future of Europe and the European Parliament’s proposal to amend the legislation governing European Parliament elections. Minister for European Affairs and Ownership Steering Tytti Tuppurainen will represent Finland at the meeting.

The ministers will discuss the draft conclusions of the October European Council (20–21 October) on Ukraine, energy and the economy. In Finland’s view, the EU must continue its strong, effective and united response to Russia’s military aggression. At the same time, the EU must continue and increase its strong political, economic, military and humanitarian support to Ukraine. Cooperation at the EU level to protect critical infrastructure must also be intensified. Finland welcomes the idea of a price cap for natural gas. However, it is important to carefully assess the impacts of the Commission’s proposed price cap on the availability of and demand for gas. In addition, the Commission should immediately review the rules for the derivatives markets. Finland considers it important that the Member States coordinate their actions to mitigate the effects of the energy crisis at the EU level.

“We must continue and strengthen our wide-ranging support for Ukraine. The EU must remain united in this respect. The EU must jointly agree on solutions to respond to the acute energy crisis while also supporting a permanent withdrawal from Russian fossil energy,” Minister Tuppurainen says.

The GAC will continue its discussion on the follow-up to the Conference on the Future of Europe. Topics on the agenda include the timeline for submitting the European Parliament’s proposals for amendments to the EU Treaties to the European Council. In Finland’s view, the activities of the EU must be improved and strengthened using the opportunities provided by the current EU Treaties. The main focus must be on practical work to promote the EU’s key objectives.  

“Finland has long supported increasing qualified majority voting especially with respect to the Common Foreign and Security Policy. It should be noted that there are already means in place to improve the effectiveness of the EU’s actions within the framework of the existing Treaties. What we need is the common will of the Member States to make use of them,” Minister Tuppurainen says.

The council will hold a debate on the European Parliament’s proposal for revising the EU rules governing the European Parliament elections. The key points of the proposal are the creation of a pan-European constituency and the establishment of a common voting day. Finland’s position on these proposals has been negative. In further preparations, it is important to consider whether it is worth proceeding in revising the legislation based on the European Parliament’s proposal.

The council will also hear an update on the rule of law in Poland.

In the General Affairs Council (GAC), the EU Member States are primarily represented by their ministers for European affairs. The tasks of the GAC 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 related 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 50 576 7745 and Roosa Pöyhönen, Special Adviser, tel. +358 50 439 6166, Prime Minister’s Office