Finland assumes Presidency of the Council of the European Union
‘Sustainable Europe – Sustainable Future.’
IF – 07/2019
Finland holds the rotating presidency
of the Council of the European Union from 1 July to 31 December 2019. Its programme reflects the course set in recent months towards a
stronger European climate policy. Based on the programme of the 9th trio presidency between Romania, Finland and Croatia
in the period from 1 January 2019 to 30 July 2020, there is a strong emphasis
on the keywords growth, security and climate policy.
The priorities of the Finnish
Presidency include strengthening common values and the rule of law, developing
a competitive and socially inclusive EU, and further developing the common
foreign and security policy for EU citizens. These issues build on the
Strategic Agenda 2019-2024 adopted by the Heads of State and Government (see Article May 2019). Over the next six months, Finland
will be the first presidency to integrate the Strategic Agenda into the
Council’s daily work.
Strengthening the social dimension
The Finns want to strengthen the social
dimension because of the growing challenges in the labour market resulting from
digitalisation, demographic change and the influence of increasing
globalisation. Although employment rates have risen and youth unemployment is
slowly falling, further efforts and policies are needed to achieve a socially
strong economic union on a lasting basis.
Labour and social standards should be
optimised and modernised, and new forms of work should be integrated into
European labour legislation. The European Labour Authority will also play a key
role in this respect, in order to continue to promote the level of social
protection for EU citizens.
Strengthening Europe’s economic position
Another key issue for the Finnish Presidency
is to strengthen Europe’s position as a centre for business and services.
Factors such as the expansion of the platform economy, digitisation and
artificial intelligence should all lead to greater productivity and
In terms of European policy, the Finns
are taking over the presidency at an exciting time, as the staffing of the most
important EU offices is currently in progress. Majorities and allies must first
find each other in order to continue to implement key thematic points in a
spirit of solidarity.