Parliament participates in the national-level preparation of decisions to be made by the EU and is also informed of them. The Grand Committee in Parliament is responsible for handling EU matters based on statements provided by special committees. Matters relating to the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy are handled by the Foreign Affairs Committee.
The Government provides Parliament with information on EU issues through Europe communications, Union communications, and Foreign and Security Policy communications. The Government may also submit other documents to Parliament, such as statements and reports. In addition, the Prime Minister may issue announcements to Parliament.
Union communications are prepared on matters to be decided by the EU which, due to their content, would fall within the competence of Parliament if Finland were not a member of the EU. These matters may relate to legislation or to Parliament’s budgetary power or powers related to international treaties. Union communications are adopted at government plenary sessions. A communication describes the essential content of the EU’s proposal and the Government’s position on the matter. Communications are always prepared in both Finnish and Swedish.
A Europe communication is a report submitted by a ministry to notify Parliament about a matter (other than legislation, the budget or international treaties) that is under consideration in the EU. Parliament must especially be notified of EU matters that are important in principle or politically or that have major financial implications. Such matters include Commission communications on forthcoming legislative proposals. The Grand Committee and the Foreign Affairs Committee may also request a report on any of the EU-related matters that fall within their mandate.
Foreign and Security Policy communications
The Foreign Affairs Committee of Parliament deals with EU matters falling within its mandate. The Foreign Affairs Committee of Parliament has the right to receive reports on matters pertaining to foreign and security policy from the Government upon request and when otherwise necessary. These reports are referred to as Foreign and Security Policy communications
Reports, statements and announcements
The Government may submit to Parliament a statement or a report relating to governance or international relations. Following a discussion on a statement, Parliament may take a vote of confidence in the Government or a minister. Reports are not subject to voting. The Prime Minister or any other member of the Government designated by the Prime Minister may submit an announcement to Parliament on a matter falling under the mandate of the Government. Announcements – which are not subject to any decision – are discussed in Parliament plenary sessions.