Demographic change is regularly cited as the bugbear of modern society. The debate on ageing often revolves around the unbalanced dependency ratio and the cost of long-term care, passing over the fine achievement of increased longevity.
At the time of Finland’s first Presidency of the Council of the European Union 20 years ago, the EU heads of state or government made a major policy decision. They decided to develop the EU as an area of freedom, security and justice.
In terms of energy policy, Finland’s Presidency of the Council of the EU will focus on the implementation of legislation. The Presidency will also have an opportunity to lay down long-term policies especially on climate issues.
The climate leaders have changed since the Paris Agreement was signed. Now, small island states are leading the way; the European Union, China and Canada are leading the way; cities and businesses are leading the way. Even schoolchildren have gone on strike to lead the way. In other words, even smaller actors can be leaders in climate policy. This is good news for the EU, too.
Finland’s Presidency aims to maintain a strong focus on sustainability. A sustainable and growing economy will form the foundations for a sustainable future, and for Europe. Economic growth is necessary if we are to continue to secure our wellbeing in the future. But growth must be ecologically and socially sustainable.
Dear friends all around Europe! I have the pleasure of addressing you directly here, as fellow Europeans. Whether you live in Kalix in northern Sweden, in Krosno, Poland, in Nice in the south of France, in Bologna, Italy or in Bad Segeberg in northern Germany, this column is for you.
During its Council Presidency, Finland will host both informal meetings of ministers and meetings of working groups and experts. Finland is aiming for well-functioning and welcoming arrangements that are as sustainable as possible.
Finland is preparing for the start of its third presidency of the Council of the EU. At the same time, negotiations are under way to form a new national government following parliamentary elections. Meanwhile, the European Union is about to embark on a new five-year electoral term after the European Parliament elections.