News and press releases
Finland’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union ran from 1 July to 31 December 2019. The Presidency’s task was to lead the Council's work and represent the Council in its relations with the other EU institutions. In June, the Finnish government chose ‘Sustainable Europe – Sustainable Future’ as its Presidency slogan.
Finland’s Presidency of the Council accompanied the European Union on the path towards a new decade and a socially fair and environmentally sustainable future.
A major step forward was taken today in securing key reform of the EU road transport sector, when the Council’s Permanent Representatives Committee (Coreper) approved a set of proposals – known as the mobility package – on drivers’ working conditions, special posting rules for drivers in international transport, access to the haulage market, and improved enforcement.
Finland has advocated greater transparency throughout its EU membership. We have been pursuing these efforts during our six-month Presidency of the Council of the EU from July to December 2019. This endeavour is closely linked to our national traditions of transparent public administration and the related positive experiences.
The Environment Council convened in Brussels on 19 December to discuss the EU’s environmental and climate policy priorities for the coming years. The Council adopted conclusions that will offer guidance for the EU on halting the global loss of biodiversity.
The EU will establish harmonised rules that make it easier for crowdfunding platforms to provide their services cross-border. The aim is to diversify opportunities for businesses to raise funding, expand the range of options available to investors and create clear rules for investor protection.
Henriikka Leppo and Kaisa Männistö: What next for the rule of law in the EU? Parting thoughts from the Finnish Presidency
In its Presidency Programme, Finland promised to affirm common values and the rule of law as cornerstones of the Union. During our six months in charge, we did our best to honour this commitment.
Tapani Piha, Sari Palojoki, Tuula Helander and Pasi Mustonen: Technology can build wellbeing and sustainable growth
Finland’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union wanted to generate dialogue on the interaction of people’s wellbeing and economic growth. The Council of the European Union adopted conclusions on the economy of wellbeing at the second Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO) under Finland’s Presidency on 24 October 2019.
The EU is taking new measures to reduce the risk of shortages of water for irrigating crops. The EU ambassadors of the member states today endorsed the provisional agreement which had been found with the European Parliament on a regulation which will facilitate the use of treated urban waste water for agricultural irrigation. This endorsement clears the way for final adoption.
One of the main objectives of Finland’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union has been to improve the EU’s capabilities to counter hybrid threats and enhance resilience to ever-evolving security threats.
EU promotes digitalisation of freight transport information – Coreper confirms agreement with Parliament
The EU is a taking a major step forward in the digitalisation of transport by making it easier for businesses to provide information to authorities in digital form. On 19 December, member states’ ambassadors meeting in the Council’s Permanent Representatives Committee (Coreper) approved the proposal creating a uniform legal framework for the use of electronic freight transport information in all modes of transport. A provisional agreement was reached between the presidency and the European Parliament on 26 November.
Council of the EU and European Parliament reach political agreement on classification of sustainable investments
The classification system will help investors to compare the sustainability of different investments, and the aim is to direct capital towards more environmentally sustainable investments.
Negotiations on the future Erasmus+ programme for 2021‒2027 progressed during the Finnish Presidency
Enhancement of the Erasmus+ programme has been one of the Finnish Presidency’s priorities in the education sector. In the autumn, Finland led the negotiations on the proposal for a regulation concerning the forthcoming programme period (2021–2027). The new programme will continue under its current name, Erasmus+.
EU agriculture and fisheries ministers discussed next year’s fishing opportunities and assessed the progress of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform package in Brussels on 16–17 December.
The UN Global Humanitarian Overview 2020 makes grim reading: Around 168 million people worldwide will need help and protection in crises spanning more than 50 countries. Next year, nearly USD 29 billion will be needed in humanitarian aid. The figures are likely to rise in the next few years. While protracted conflicts are the biggest cause for global needs, climate change too increases the likelihood of natural disasters and associated damages.
Sustainable meeting arrangements during Finland’s Presidency of the Council of the EU significantly reduced emissions
The sustainable solutions adopted for meetings held during Finland’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union have helped to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by around 30% compared to the average meeting arrangements during Council presidencies. The most effective solutions included centralising meetings in Helsinki, deciding not to hand out gifts and avoiding producing materials only for the Presidency.
Forests are indispensable for sequestering carbon, preserving biodiversity and supporting livelihoods around the world. The importance of forests has been pointed up by the climate crisis and the recent devastating forest fires. The EU member states share a deep concern about the state of the world’s forests.
EU leaders have agreed on a commitment to make the European Union climate neutral by 2050. The agreement was reached at the meeting of the European Council in Brussels on 12 December. One member state stated that it could not, at this stage, commit to implementing the climate objective.