(Brussels) For the third time Finland, the eighth-largest country in Europe with 5.5 million inhabitants, will take on the six-month Presidency of the EU Council of Ministers. Helsinki will take over the Presidency of the Council from Romania on 1 July. Politically, the country is at the beginning of a new term: following the general election in April, Social Democrat Antti Rinne (pictured) was appointed prime minister on 6 June. The programme for the six-month Presidency was voted on yesterday, 26 June, by the Finnish Parliament, and is now available online at eu2019.fi, the Presidency’s official website. The four priorities are: “to strengthen common values and the rule of law, to make the EU more competitive and socially inclusive, to strengthen the EU’s position as a global leader in climate action, and to protect the security of citizens”. The EU’s values “must be respected if the EU is to function properly while maintaining its acceptability and credibility”, the programme says about the first priority. In particular, the programme insists on the rule of law, with “autonomous and independent courts” “at its core”. Finland will work “to improve and strengthen the EU’s rule of law toolbox” to “ensure” it “is respected” and will continue to work towards the establishment of “a well-balanced and effective mechanism tying EU funding to compliance with the rule of law”. Other areas of work include fighting corruption and promoting equality and inclusiveness in all policy sectors.