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EU: Finland to take helm of Council of Ministers on 1 July. Focus on economic growth, environment and social protection

(Brussels) One of the four priorities in the programme of Finland’s six-month Presidency of the Council of the EU is “a comprehensive long-term strategy for sustainable growth and competitiveness that specifically includes measures to improve the functioning of the single market and promote an ambitious, rules-based trade policy”. For the EU to become the “most competitive and socially inclusive low-carbon economy”, it is essential to “make European education, training and research the best in the world”; as well as to assess “whether our labour legislation and social protection systems are up to date”; and to “continue negotiations on ambitious and balanced trade agreements with key partners”, especially China and the US. Climate action is the third goal of Finland’s Presidency: it is of fundamental importance to continue defining “the key elements of the EU’s long-term climate strategy” by the end of 2019. The Finnish agenda also includes security with a reference to the Arctic region, which is gaining “growing geopolitical significance” as a result of climate change; “hybrid threats” and cybersecurity will also receive special attention. As for migration, Finland’s Presidency would like to reconsider the package on the common asylum system, previously rejected by the Council, to reach agreement on individual proposals, and would like to revive the European Resettlement scheme.

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