Finland took over the six-monthly presidency of the EU Council on 1 July. Finnish MEPs explained their expectations for this period.
The slogan of the Finnish presidency is “sustainable Europe, sustainable future” and during the six-month term sustainability will be key. Instead of giving traditional presidency gifts, Finland will use the budget to offset greenhouse gas emissions from flights to presidency meetings in Helsinki and Brussels, while meetings will feature tap water instead of bottled water.
Finland’s priorities for the presidency 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
- to protect people comprehensively
The European Union faces an increasingly complex and unpredictable global operating environment: great power competition and assertive unilateralism are on the rise, and the international rules-based system and its norms and principles are being challenged. We have also seen the EU’s common values being called into question. Moreover, one member state is about to leave the EU.
The cornerstones of European integration – peace, security, stability, democracy and prosperity – need to be protected. It is only by acting together and defending our common values that the EU can tackle the major challenges of our time while promoting the wellbeing and prosperity of its citizens.
The European success story is anchored in democratic institutions, human rights and the rule of law. We need to strengthen the rule of law to enable the EU to credibly defend a rules-based multilateral system and international human rights institutions and to allow its citizens to enjoy peace and equal rights.
The EU can prove its worth by creating wellbeing and prosperity that is socially, ecologically and economically sustainable. Public acceptance of the EU depends on efficient decision-making and the ability to carry out what has been agreed. Europe can only exert global influence if it is strong and effective.
Transparency, better regulation, involvement of citizens and respect for the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality are crucial for strengthening trust in the EU.