Ministerial Committee on EU Affairs discusses European Council meeting and Euro Summit
At a meeting on Wednesday, 23 June, the Ministerial Committee on EU Affairs outlined the positions of Finland ahead of the European Council meeting to be held in Brussels on 24 and 25 June, and for the Euro Summit due on 25 June. The European Council will discuss the COVID-19 pandemic, economic recovery, migration, Turkey, Russia and Belarus.
Finland holds that a boost to production of coronavirus vaccines is still needed to ensure that the European Union can meet its commitment to global solidarity in addition to vaccinating its own population. Finland supports a co-ordinated lifting of restrictions, and a reopening of the European Union to safe tourism when the epidemic situation permits. The EU must be better prepared for future crises.
The Ministerial Committee on EU Affairs has already outlined positions related to the Recovery and Resilience Facility (U 30/2020 vp, UJ 19/2020 vp and UJ 28/2020 vp). Finland considers that there should be no permanent restructuring of European Union economic policy in response to the acute crisis. Finland is promoting solutions that will strengthen its tax base in a globally sustainable way and promote a level playing field for businesses by blocking opportunities for tax avoidance.
Migration calls for comprehensive, common European solutions. Equitable and sustainable partnerships with countries of origin and transit are crucial. The migration situation must be closely monitored, and necessary measures taken without delay. It is important to support Member States under pressure. With regard to common EU systems, work should be continued to find a permanent solution.
Finland stresses that European Union policy towards Turkey should be long-term and consistent. The recent more constructive approach by Turkey is welcome and should be acknowledged. However, the EU must be ready to respond with unity and firmness if Turkey returns to measures that promote confrontation and instability.
Finland considers that discussion of strategy is important with respect to European Union policy towards Russia. Finland stresses the importance of unity and coherence of the EU as well as the balanced implementation of the EU’s policy on the basis of the five guiding principles. Sanctions should be kept in place and broadened as necessary until there are no longer grounds for imposing them. Dialogue and co-operation with Russia is also important on matters of interest to the European Union, such as climate and environmental issues.
The deteriorating situation in Belarus gives cause for concern. Finland supports a gradual broadening of sanctions, while ensuring a strong legal basis and EU unity.
The Euro Summit
The Euro Summit is due to discuss economic challenges in the euro area in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, and to review progress on the Banking Union and the Capital Markets Union.
Finland considers that there should be no permanent restructuring of European Union economic policy in response to the acute crisis. Co-operation for better fiscal policy management of counter-cyclical policy may also be improved through separately agreed mutual and parallel measures of Member States.
Finland’s basic starting point in completing the Banking Union is based on comprehensive and effective implementation of a bail-in, enabling the cost to taxpayers to be minimised in the event of bank crises. A properly implemented European deposit insurance scheme could provide added value from the perspective of financial stability. Progress towards common deposit insurance will require a roadmap including agreement on risk-reducing measures, restoring the credibility of the agreed crisis-solving system, and a reform of bank regulation to enable sovereign debt restructuring. The conditions for implementing joint deposit protection can only be addressed after reaching agreement on a review of crisis resolution and deposit protection legislation, and on a reform of banking regulation to allow sovereign debt restructuring.
The debate on the Capital Markets Union will continue at EU level, focusing particularly on further needs to harmonise insolvency legislation, taxation and company law. Finland is willing to investigate how EU-level actions could promote the implementation of a deeper Capital Markets Union. Finland considers that there is no immediate need for further harmonisation of insolvency law at the present time.
Agriculture and Fisheries Council
The Ministerial Committee on EU Affairs also outlined the views of Finland for an upcoming session of the Agriculture and Fisheries Council (28-29 June).
The Portuguese Presidency will seek an agreement on the CAP reform package. The meeting is also due to adopt a decision calling on the Commission to arrange a study of macro-organisms used in biological control. Ministers will also hear a presentation by the Commission on work done to set conservation targets for bees. The Commission will also furnish the Agriculture and Fisheries Council with an overview of market conditions for agricultural products. With respect to fisheries, the Commission will present its communication “Towards more sustainable fishing in the EU: state of play and orientations for 2022”. The Council is also due to approve its general overview of the Fisheries Control Regulation.
Jari Luoto, Under-Secretary of State for European Affairs, tel. +358 50 468 5949
Tuulia Pitkänen, Special Adviser (EU Affairs), tel. +358 29 516 0231
Kare Halonen, State Secretary for EU Affairs, tel. +358 29 516 0319
Anne Sjöholm, Communications Manager for EU Affairs, tel. +358 40 537 0733, Prime Minister’s Office