EU needs an ambitious agenda for growth, says Finland’s Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment
“Finland’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union, starting in July, is an excellent opportunity to become actively engaged in the future of the EU debate,” says Jari Gustafsson, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment
The Finnish Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment has just published an outlook review that serves as a basis for the new strategic priorities of the European Union over the next five years and for the work programme of the next European Commission to be appointed in November 2019.
The report, ‘Perspectives for the EU’s strategic priorities in 2019 – a new design for sustainable growth’, discusses the EU’s future strategic agenda from the perspectives of growth and competitiveness. It also sets out the building blocks the Ministry considers crucial for a new design for sustainable growth in the EU.
“The EU must be able to make the right choices in 2019 by setting an ambitious policy agenda for growth. The new growth agenda should be geared towards enhancing the EU’s competitiveness in the global context and creating an economically, environmentally and socially strong Europe. The EU needs now a modern, forward-looking policy approach,” says Janne Känkänen, the Ministry’s Head of EU and International Affairs.
Finland’s upcoming Presidency of the Council of the EU will have two main themes. Finland wants to promote growth and competitiveness in Europe and improve security. The two themes complement each other and have important interlinkages.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment stresses that growth and competitiveness in Europe need a functioning Single Market, especially in the field of services market. The EU policy agenda needs to embrace digitalisation, and the Union must strive to become a global leader in the digital economy. There is also a need for more flexible solutions to reskill and upskill the European workforce that better respond to the needs of the working life in the digital era. This concerns all sectors and all levels. The EU should engage in active trade policy that is based on openness, the rules-based multilateral trading system and the promotion of free trade.
The EU needs to address the climate change challenge to ensure sustainable growth and competitiveness in Europe. It needs a clear strategy to respond to the 1.5-degree goal and the timelines set by the Paris Agreement. To achieve this, the EU needs a cost-effective transition to a low-carbon economy as well as investments in new, energy-efficient technologies. A carbon neutral Europe would generate market growth and create great opportunities for Europe and European companies to design low-emission solutions.
Outlook review by officials at the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment: “Perspectives for the EU’s strategic priorities in 2019 – a new design for sustainable growth”
Janne Känkänen, Head of EU and International Affairs, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 29 506 4200
Jari Gustafsson, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 29 504 7400