Prime Minister Marin meets EU leaders in Brussels

Government Communications Department 6.2.2020 17.17 | Published in English on 6.2.2020 at 17.35
Press release 56/2020
Prime Minister Sanna Marin and President of the European Council Charles Michel in Brussels

On Thursday 6 February, Prime Minister Sanna Marin met President of the European Council Charles Michel in Brussels to discuss Finland’s key positions for the negotiations on the multiannual financial framework (MFF). Prime Minister Marin also met Executive Vice-President of the Commission Frans Timmermans and Commissioner Jutta Urpilainen.

As the leader of the MFF negotiations, President Michel has bilateral meetings with the EU heads of state or government before the special European Council meeting in Brussels on 20 February, where an agreement should be reached on the multiannual financial framework, i.e. the long-term budget of the EU for 2021–2027. These bilateral preparatory talks will be based on the draft prepared by Finland during its Presidency of the Council of the EU (negotiating box). The draft does not reflect Finland’s national objectives and interests, but takes the positions of all Member States equally into account.

“The proposal prepared by the Finnish Presidency provides a good basis to continue the negotiations. For Finland it is important that the financial frameworks support the transition towards a low-carbon EU,” Prime Minister Marin says.

Important issues for Finland in the future negotiations include the level of funding for rural development, supporting research and innovation, and linking EU funds to compliance with the rule of law.

The topics discussed with Vice-President Timmermans were the European Green Deal and EU climate objectives.

“We talked about the Commission’s proposal on the European Green Deal. Now we should find the means to ensure a fair and just transition into a low-carbon economy that will curb climate warming,” Prime Minister Marin says.

At the December European Council we decided to achieve a climate neutral EU by 2050. To serve as one of the stepping stones on this path, the Commission is preparing to tighten the emission reduction target to 2030. As I also told Vice-President Timmermans, Finland considers that this target should be raised to 55%.”

Prime Minister Marin and Vice-President Timmermans also discussed the future EU Forest Strategy to be prepared by the Commission.

“Finland wishes to have strong influence on the content of the strategy so that it will be comprehensive enough and take account of the role of forests both in preserving biodiversity and recreational use and as a carbon sink and source of economic activities.”

Prime Minister Marin and Commissioner Jutta Urpilainen discussed the start of the Commission’s work in general and especially the new EU-Africa Strategy to be prepared under Urpilainen’s leadership.

“In Finland we are also preparing a strategy on Africa, as stated in the Government programme, and it is most sensible to find as many links as possible between the work done in the EU and Finland’s objectives,” Prime Minister Marin says. 

Inquiries: Jari Luoto, State Under-Secretary for EU Affairs, tel. +358 50 468 5949, Matti Niemi, Special Adviser (EU Affairs), tel. +358 45 679 1717 and Anne Sjöholm, Head of Communications for EU Affairs, tel. +358 40 537 0733, Prime Minister’s Office