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EU ministers discussed single market and climate neutral economy

Publication date 5.7.2019 15.30
Press release
Photo: Finnish Government

The main topics on the second day of the Informal Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Competitiveness were the integration of the single market with a dynamic digital economy and modern industrial policy, and smart solutions for a competitive and climate neutral Europe. The discussions provide input for the sustainable growth agenda, which is one of the priorities of Finland’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

The ministers met in Helsinki on 5 July. The meeting was chaired by Minister of Employment Timo Harakka and Minister of Economic Affairs Katri Kulmuni. In addition, the meeting was attended by Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs Elżbieta Bieńkowska.

Single market, digitalisation and industrial policy are more efficient when interlinked

The Finnish Presidency aims at making the EU more competitive and socially inclusive. This approach emphasizes smart and forward-looking industrial and single market policies, which are vital for the growth and competitiveness of Europe.

“To continue the deepening of the single market, we need holistic and comprehensive policies for ensuring that the single market, digitalisation and industrial policy are interlinked and reinforce each other. Our task is to manage the transition to a sustainable European economy by having a proactive industrial policy, a consistent competition policy and an inclusive social policy,” said minister Harakka.

“To ensure economic growth in the new decade, we need European reforms which boost competitiveness, strengthen the single market in both its internal and external dimensions, and a stronger social pillar. We must promote both private and public investments for the future,” Harakka continued.

Transition towards climate neutrality is a global business opportunity for Europe

Ministers discussed smart solutions for a competitive and climate neutral Europe. During its Presidency, Finland is emphasizing the importance of raising the EU’s profile as a global leader in climate action. This can be accomplished by adopting a long-term climate strategy aimed at making the EU climate neutral by 2050.

The transition towards a climate neutral Europe will create new business opportunities for European industry and businesses by providing climate neutral solutions.

“The transition to a climate neutral economy presents both challenges and opportunities. This will require significant investment from private sources. The transition enables European companies to become frontrunners in technologies promoting climate neutrality, helping to strengthen the EU’s economic and industrial competitiveness,” said minister Kulmuni.

Messages for growth policy for the next five years

The outcome of discussions in Helsinki will contribute to the preparations for the Competitiveness Council meetings in September and November 2019. The aim is to define the key policy messages of the Competitiveness Council for the new European Commission in the field of growth and competitiveness for the next five years. The Finnish Presidency emphasizes that the EU needs a growth agenda to become more competitive in global markets and ensure that growth is sustainable, both environmentally and socially.

The keynote speakers at the informal meeting were President and CEO of Kone Corporation Henrik Ehrnrooth, Chief Commercial Officer of Bombardier Transportation Per Allmer, CEO and co-founder of Sulapac Ltd. Suvi Haimi, Member of the Managing Board of Siemens AG Michael Sen and President and CEO of Fortum Corporation Pekka Lundmark.

The two-day meeting began on 4 July, and the theme of the first day was how research and innovation can contribute to the EU’s sustainable growth. Finland will hold the Presidency of the Council of the European Union from 1 July to 31 December 2019. Finland will chair the formal Council meetings in Brussels and Luxembourg and the informal meetings of ministers held in Finland. The six informal meetings of ministers will be held in Finlandia Hall in Helsinki, which will also be the venue for a large number of meetings of working groups and experts.


Jenni Karjalainen, Special Adviser to the Minister of Employment, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 295 047 224
Nina Alatalo, Adviser to the Minister of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 50 431 8015, Twitter @AlataloNina
Janne Känkänen, Director for EU and International Affairs, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 29 506 4200, Twitter @janne_kankanen
Anniina Lehtonen, Communications Specialist, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 50 476 3736, Twitter @AnniinaLeh