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Ministers for European affairs to prepare for October European Council

Government Communications Department
Publication date 23.10.2023 15.41
Press release

The EU General Affairs Council (GAC) will meet in Luxembourg on Tuesday 24 October. The meeting will focus mainly on preparations for the October European Council. The GAC will also continue its annual rule of law dialogue with country-specific discussions. Minister for European Affairs and Ownership Steering Anders Adlercreutz will represent Finland at the meeting.

The GAC will prepare for the upcoming European Council meeting on 26–27 October by discussing the Council’s draft conclusions. Topics on the agenda for the October European Council include support for Ukraine, the mid-term review and revision of the EU’s multiannual financial framework, competitiveness and the economy, the external dimension of migration and key foreign policy issues.

Finland considers it important that the EU continue its strong, effective and united response to Russia’s military attacks against Ukraine. With respect to the review and revision of the multiannual financial framework, Finland considers it essential to prioritise funding needs and make use of possible redeployments of funding as far as possible. When it comes to migration policy, Finland’s view is that the EU should continue to base its policy on the New Pact on Migration and Asylum while working to improve the management of all external borders and establishing partnerships with countries of origin and transit. Finland’s position on the economy is that fair competition based on sustainable finances, along with a well-functioning single market, active trade policy and the efficient use of existing EU resources form the foundation for the EU’s long-term competitiveness and play a key role in solving current and future challenges.

“At the moment, the single market is faltering and many countries’ appetite for state aid is challenging from Finland’s perspective. For example, the idea of leveraging green transition investments in countries that do not offer real, long-term competitive advantages is problematic for the EU as a whole. This would weaken the union's competitiveness, in which case everyone loses. When it comes to state aid practices, we must return to our pre-pandemic principles,” says Minister Adlercreutz.

In their meeting, the ministers for European affairs will continue their rule of law dialogue by discussing the country-specific chapters on Germany, Denmark, Ireland, Estonia and Greece in the Commission’s Rule of Law Report. The GAC’s rule of law dialogue based on the Commission’s annual Rule of Law Report is an essential means of strengthening the rule of law in the European Union. Finland will continue its long-standing policy on rule of law issues, aiming to promote the rule of law and the fight against corruption in the EU. It is especially important to ensure that funding from the EU budget is closely linked to respecting the rule of law, preventing the misuse of funds and combating corruption.

At the meeting, the Commission will also present its 11 October 2023 Communication on a toolbox for action on demographic change in Europe. The Commission Communication presents a toolbox for the Member States to address demographic change and manage its impacts on society and the economy.

The ministers will also take stock of progress on the request by Spain to include Catalan, Basque and Galician in the regulation governing the EU’s language regime.

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 GAC’s agenda.

Inquiries: Heli Siivola, Senior Specialist, tel. +358 50 576 7745 and Andreas Elfving, Special Adviser to the Minister, tel. +358 50 310 0274, Prime Minister’s Office