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Finland's EU presidency kicks off in Helsinki

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Finland's EU presidency kicks off in Helsinki

Antti Rinne - Juncker - Photo EC

(HELSINKI) - Finland's presidency of the EU, which began 1 July, promises to focus on strengthening the Union's common values and the rule of law, as well as its position as a global leader in climate action.

The EU Commission headed by its president Jean-Claude Juncker met with Finland's prime minister Antti Rinne and his government on 4 and 5 July, paving the way for the Finnish government and the Commission to work together in promoting the priorities of Finland's Presidency and the EU's strategic agenda.

"It is particularly important for the Presidency and the Commission to pull together at a time when we are defending the cornerstones of European integration: peace, security, stability, democracy and prosperity," said prime minister Rinne.

On the agenda were the key priorities of Finland's Presidency, which include climate action, the multiannual financial framework, the EU-Africa partnership, the rule of law, growth and security.

"We are particularly keen to work with the Commission on climate issues. We consider it vital for the European Union to speak with one voice in international climate negotiations and to reach unanimity on the goal of making the EU climate neutral by 2050," said Mr Rinne.

Other important topics for Finland are EU enlargement and Arctic policy.

"I personally thanked President Juncker and the whole Commission for their efforts to develop an Arctic strategy for the EU in response to the challenges and opportunities related to the area. Finland's Presidency wishes to strengthen the EU's Arctic policy and to make mitigation of climate change its top priority," Mr Rinne said.

The members of the Commission and Finnish ministers discussed, in groups, the multiannual financial framework for 2021–2027, 'a fair, sustainable and competitive Europe', and 'an influential and protective Europe'.

The meeting between the European Commission and the government of the country holding the presidency of the Council of the European Union is a traditional opening event for each presidency. Its objective is to prepare cooperation between the Commission and the presidency. Finland will hold the Presidency from 1 July to 31 December 2019.

The motto of Finland's presidency is: "Sustainable Europe - Sustainable Future".

The presidency's four main priorities are to:

  • strengthen common values and the rule of law
  • make the EU more competitive and socially inclusive
  • strengthen the EU's position as a global leader in climate action
  • protect the security of citizens comprehensively

Finland will be the first presidency to integrate the new priorities of the Strategic Agenda 2019-2024 into the Council's work.

Programme of Finland's presidency

Finland's presidency website

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