Competitiveness Council to discuss the EU’s strategy on sustainable growth

Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment 25.9.2019 11.53
Press release

The first official Competitiveness Council during Finland’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union will convene in Brussels on 26 and 27 September 2019, chaired by Minister of Employment Timo Harakka and Minister of Economic Affairs Katri Kulmuni. On both days, ministers will exchange views on the future long-term strategy on sustainable growth, which is one of the most important competitiveness and growth themes during Finland’s Presidency.

EU needs a comprehensive, ambitious and forward-looking growth agenda

The EU’s strategy on sustainable growth will be the main topic when the ministers responsible for industry and the internal market meet on Thursday 26 September. Minister Harakka will chair the meeting.

A presidency report, prepared by Finland, centres on the view that the European Union need a new comprehensive, ambitious and forward-looking growth agenda. The aim is to improve the EU’s productivity and competitiveness on the global markets while ensuring that economic growth is both environmentally and socially sustainable. Key policy areas include modern industrial policy, single market, trade policy, research and innovation, digital economy, skills and the transition to a climate-neutral economy.

The goal is that the main messages from the presidency report be adopted as clear priorities in the incoming Commission’s five-year work programme to improve sustainable growth and competitiveness in the EU. Finland’s Presidency will present the report and the main messages from the ministers’ discussion at the European Council in October.

Ministers responsible for industry and the internal market will discuss the financing of sustainable growth over lunch, hosted by Minister Kulmuni. They will exchange views on the best ways to use private and public funding to support the development and implementation of technologies that promote climate neutrality. Vice-President of the European Investment Bank Alexander Stubb will hold a keynote speech at the lunch.

Synergies between EU programmes

Research ministers, too, will discuss the strategy on sustainable growth in their meeting on Friday 27 September. Minister Kulmuni will chair the meeting.

The ministers will also exchange views on possible synergies between Horizon Europe, the EU’s framework programme for research and innovation in 2021–2027, and other EU programmes under the next multiannual financial framework. By increasing synergies between funding programmes, the EU should be able to improve the effectiveness of its research, development and innovation programmes.

Over lunch, the research ministers will discuss the role of research and innovation and the next Horizon Europe in achieving the EU’s climate targets.

Preparations for a strategy on sustainable growth

Competitiveness ministers discussed the elements of sustainable growth the first time during Finland’s Presidency in their informal meeting in Helsinki in early July. Based on these discussions, Finland has prepared a presidency report, which will be debated both on 26 September by ministers responsible for industry and the internal market and on 27 September by ministers responsible for research. The presidency report supports the objectives of growth, competitiveness and jobs detailed in the new Strategic Agenda for the EU for 2019–2024, adopted by the European Council in June.

Inquiries:
Jenni Karjalainen, Special Adviser to the Minister of Employment, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 29 504 7224
Jari Partanen, State Secretary to the Minister of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 40 591 1377
Janne Känkänen, Director for EU and International Affairs, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 29 506 4200
Anniina Lehtonen, Communications Specialist, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 50 476 3736