Denys Rudyi - Fotolia

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 competitiveness.

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.