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European Council discussed external relations, COVID-19 situation and migration

Government Communications Department
25.6.2021 4.18 | Published in English on 28.6.2021 at 13.14
Press release 411/2021

On the first day of its meeting in Brussels on 24 June, the European Council discussed external relations, the current situation with the coronavirus and migration. The Council also held a discussion with António Guterres, who was recently re-elected as UN Secretary General. Prime Minister Sanna Marin represented Finland at the meeting.

On the first day of its meeting in Brussels on 24 June, the European Council discussed external relations, the current situation with the coronavirus and migration. The Council also held a discussion with António Guterres, who was recently re-elected as UN Secretary General. Prime Minister Sanna Marin represented Finland at the meeting.
 
Among issues related to external relations, Russia and Turkey gave rise to the most debate, while Belarus, Libya, Sahel and Ethiopia were on the agenda too. In line with its conclusions in May, the European Council discussed relations with Russia on the basis of the report by the High Representative and the Commission. The EU leaders stated that the Union is committed to a united, long-term and strategic policy vis-à-vis Russia, based on the five guiding principles agreed on earlier. The Council reverted to the situation in the Mediterranean and the European Union’s relations with Turkey. A more constructive engagement by Turkey opens up opportunities to promote cooperation.
 
The coronavirus situation was discussed extensively at the meeting. The EU leaders welcomed the progress on vaccinations, the overall improvement in the epidemiological situation, and the introduction of a digital COVID certificate in the EU. Free movement between Member States will be restored as soon as it is safe. The EU remains vigilant in monitoring virus variants and also supports improved access to vaccines globally. The EU leaders also discussed the initial lessons that can be learned from the pandemic in order to prepare for future crises better.
 
The European Council adopted concise conclusions on the migration situation. The EU leaders agreed that partnerships and cooperation with countries of origin and transit need to be intensified. The European Council also condemned any attempt by third countries to use migrants and refugees for political purposes. Finland is committed to seeking comprehensive and common European solutions to the migration situation.

Inquiries: Jari Luoto, State Under-Secretary for European Affairs, tel. +358 50 468 5949, Tuulia Pitkänen, Special Adviser (EU Affairs), tel. +358 295 160 231, and Anne Sjöholm, Head of Communications for EU Affairs, tel. +358 40 537 0733, Prime Minister’s Office