News and press releases
Trade ministers to discuss WTO reform, EU-US trade relations and implementation of free trade agreements
The Foreign Affairs Council will meet in the configuration of trade ministers in Brussels on 21 November. Finland’s Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade Ville Skinnari will chair the meeting.
The General Affairs Council met in Brussels on 19 November to discuss the multiannual financial framework for 2021–2027, preparations for the European Council meeting in December, enhancing respect for the rule of law and EU enlargement. The Finnish Minister for European Affairs Tytti Tuppurainen chaired the meeting.
The Education, Youth, Culture and Sport Council dealing with youth, culture and sport will meet in Brussels on 21–22 November. The ministers will focus on culture and sustainable development, the competitiveness of the audiovisual sector, combating corruption in sport, safe sport for children and young people, education and training of youth workers, and digital youth work.
On 18 November, the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament reached agreement on an EU budget for 2020. The budget focuses on priorities such as climate change mitigation, job creation, strengthening security and addressing the challenges of migration.
On 18 November, EU agriculture ministers met to discuss the future of the common agricultural policy (CAP) post 2020. They exchanged views on the environmental and climate-related aspects of the CAP reform package and the regulations on CAP transitional rules.
The European Economic Area (EEA) Council will meet in Brussels on 19 November. The EU’s delegation will be led by Pekka Haavisto, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Finland. The EEA Council will assess the overall functioning and progress of the EEA agreement and hold an orientation debate on the single market beyond 2019.
Since the Commission communication and the adoption of the legislative proposals, one thing has been made clear as regards the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform: improving the state of the environment and responding to climate change are key objectives. The Commission’s proposal for the post-2020 CAP addresses global challenges such as the loss of biodiversity and the increasing rate of climate change. During the negotiations on the reform, all member states have stressed the importance of the objectives.
Finland’s Presidency promotes dialogue with the Western Balkans in the area of justice and home affairs
The EU–Western Balkans Ministerial Forum on Justice and Home Affairs will take place in Skopje, North Macedonia, on 18-19 November 2019. Minister of Justice Anna-Maja Henriksson will chair the justice affairs session. Minister of the Interior Maria Ohisalo will chair the home affairs session.
On Monday 18 November, Prime Minister Antti Rinne will visit Brussels to meet the incoming European Council President Charles Michel, next European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis, and Commissioner-designate for International Partnerships Jutta Urpilainen.
SET Plan Conference: Energy technology development favours climate neutrality and boosts Europe’s competitiveness
Research and innovation in the energy sector promote the twin goals of sustainable climate change mitigation and European industrial leadership. The SET Plan Conference on energy technology, which is currently taking place in Helsinki (13–15 November), is zeroing in on the potential of low-carbon technologies for making European industries more competitive.
The Council of the European Union and the European Parliament will seek agreement on the EU’s budget for 2020 on Friday 15 November. As the country holding the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, Finland will strive for a balanced solution.
EU defence ministers adopted new projects under Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) in their meeting on 12 November. The ministers also reviewed the EU’s military crisis management missions and operations and gave their support to further developing of EU-NATO cooperation.
The EU Charter of Fundamental Rights will celebrate its 10th anniversary this year, since it became legally binding with the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty on 1 December 2009.
EU finance and education ministers discussed role of education and training in achieving sustainable growth
Finland’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union was the first to arrange a joint policy debate for the finance and education ministers of EU member states. The debate took place on 8 November 2019 in Brussels. The ministers discussed the role of education and training in promoting wellbeing and driving sustainable growth in the long term.
The Cyber Ranges Federation project is building an EU-wide cyber range, a closed cyber exercise and training environment, for the use of defence administrations in EU member states. The aim is to develop cyber capabilities and training in EU member states to help them prepare for cyber threats.
A machine translation engine developed for the needs of Finland’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union has proved its usefulness as a translation aid. Machine translation (MT), also known as automated translation (AT), is based on neural networks that learn from experience.
Timo Ritonummi: SET Plan Conference aims to solve the climate challenge by promoting low-carbon technologies
The Paris Agreement on climate change sets strict targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Some countries have set even more ambitious targets – Finland, for example, aims to reach carbon neutrality by 2035. In mid-November, the SET Plan Conference will gather energy professionals in Helsinki to discuss energy and low-carbon technologies and how energy research and innovations can contribute to climate-friendly solutions.
Taina Nikula: A new direction for the economy – more circularity, intelligent solutions and sparing use of resources
Europe is looking for new ways of mitigating climate change. While cynics say this heralds a return to the dark ages of ‘make do and mend’, others believe this is now the start of a momentous shift to a new type of economy. At the October Environment Council, the environment and climate ministers of EU member states brought their own policy positions to the table and adopted Council conclusions on the circular economy prepared under Finland’s leadership.
EU Ministers for Employment and Social Affairs discussed economy of wellbeing and skills needs in the changing labour market
The topics for the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council in Luxembourg on 24 October 2019 included the economy of wellbeing and workers’ skills in the changing labour market. This was the second EPSCO Council meeting during the Finnish Presidency.