Finland’s Presidency Programme discussed at the Ministerial Committee on EU Affairs
At its meeting on Wednesday 19 June, the Ministerial Committee on European Union Affairs discussed Finland’s Presidency Programme and outlined its positions for the European Council and Euro Summit in Brussels on 20–21 June.
Finland’s Presidency Programme specifies the themes Finland will focus on during Finland’s third Presidency of the Council of the European Union that will start in July. The programme will be published when Prime Minister Antti Rinne gives an oral statement on it to Parliament on 26 June.
For the European Council (20–21 June), the Ministerial Committee on EU Affairs noted that Finland will be able to approve the Strategic Agenda for 2019–2024. Finland has made considerable efforts to influence the content of the agenda, and many of its objectives are now included. The European Council will also discuss the package of high-level appointments and hybrid threats, and will agree on resuming sanctions against Russia as no progress has been made in implementing the Minsk agreements. Finland considers it important for the European Council to confirm the objective that agreement on the next multiannual financial framework should be reached during Finland’s Presidency. Finland wishes that the EU will aim for carbon-neutrality by 2050, and that the EU-Africa Strategic Partnership will be developed in a comprehensive way towards a relationship that is more equal and mutually beneficial. The European Council will also hold a meeting without Great Britain to discuss the Brexit situation.
The Euro Summit (21 June) will discuss the development of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). Finland is participating actively and with an open mind in the development of the EMU, while also stressing that each Member State must bear primary responsibility for its own economy. Finland considers that the budgetary instrument of the euro area must be part of the financial framework of the EU, and any external funding must be voluntary. Finland supports the completion of a banking union based on investor liability and is in favour of further developing the European Stability Mechanism (ESM). As part of the reform of the ESM, well-functioning debt restructuring procedures and a permanent precautionary arrangement of the Crisis Resolution Fund will be created. In future the ESM may offer a financial backstop to the Single Resolution Board.
Based on European Commission Communications, the Ministerial Committee on EU Affairs discussed ways to improve decision-making in the EU by extending the scope of qualified majority decisions in taxation and in the energy, climate and social policy sectors. In accordance with the Government programme, Finland is prepared to consider extending the scope of qualified majority decisions on a case-by-case basis.
The Ministerial Committee received an update on the negotiations concerning the next multiannual financial framework of the EU and the draft agendas of Council meetings to be held during Finland’s Presidency. In line with Finland’s objective concerning openness and transparency, the number of open discussions and events will be increased.
The Ministerial Committee also outlined Finland's positions for the following Councils:
- General Affairs Council; cohesion policy (25 June)
- Energy Council (25 June)
- Environment Council (26 June)
The General Affairs Council will receive an update on the progress of the negotiations on cohesion policy and discuss the relationship of the EU’s regional and structural policy to the European Semester and country-specific recommendations in the next programming period. The Energy Council will aim to adopt conclusions on the future of the European energy system and discuss external relations in the energy sector. The Environment Council should adopt a general approach concerning the proposal for a Regulation on minimum requirements for water reuse, discuss the evaluation of the implementation of environmental legislation, and adopt conclusions on “Towards a Union’s Chemicals Policy Strategy”.
Inquiries: Jari Luoto, State Under-Secretary for EU Affairs, tel. +358 50 468 5949, Pilvi-Elina Kupias, Special Adviser (EU Affairs), tel. +358 295 160 995; Kare Halonen State Secretary, EU Affairs, tel. +358 295 160 319, Anne Sjöholm, Head of Communications for EU Affairs, tel. +358 40 537 0733, Prime Minister’s Office