Finnish Presidency of the European Council 2019

What will be Finland’s focus?

On 1st July 2019, Finland took over the Presidency of the European Council for the second half of the year. The country is trying to achieve and pursue the predefined goals ambitiously.

Already during the Finnish national elections that were held in April, climate change played the most important role. The new coalition agreement, which was drawn up within the Finnish government, aims at a climate neutrality until 2035. In order to reach the national objective, the climate legislation, that is currently providing a climate neutrality until 2045, must be adapted accordingly.

Finland plans to bring its determination onto the pan-European level by creating a draft for a long-term EU climate strategy with the aim of a climate and CO2 neutrality. Therefore, all EU Member States would have to agree on climate neutrality until 2050. However, this undertaking could prove challenging since Poland, Hungary, Estonia and the Czech Republic acted obstructively during the last European Summit. Before continuing with these negotiations, they first want to nationally discuss the effect of the climate goal on the economy.

A further major focus during the Finnish Presidency involves concluding the negotiations on the multiannual financial framework (MFF), strengthening common values and the rule of law, a comprehensive protection for all European citizens and making the EU socially inclusive and more competitive. Especially the last objective must be ensured considering the forthcoming Brexit in October. Despite this obstacle Finland states to be prepared for a “hard” as well as for a “soft” Brexit. Consequently, it remains to be seen in which direction the EU will develop in the next months.