Changes to Government activities as of 1 March
From the beginning of March, government proposals will be submitted to Parliament directly from government plenary sessions. Government proposals will not be first presented as draft decisions to the President of the Republic. The proposals will be signed by the Prime Minister and certified by the minister responsible for the matter.
In addition to government proposals, government reports and communications will also be submitted to Parliament directly from government plenary sessions. The government plenary session will have power to appoint ministries' permanent secretaries and state secretaries serving as permanent secretaries. These changes are included in the act amending the Government Act which will enter into force on 1 March.
The procedure relating to approving bills will not change. As before, a parliamentary reply will be first discussed at a government plenary session and then presented as a draft government decision at a presidential session.
In 2011, the President of the Republic made 690 decisions at presidential sessions. The number of these decisions is expected to decrease by one third.
Government sessions will be held at the same hours as before. Government plenary sessions are usually held on Thursdays at 13.00 and presidential sessions on Fridays at 11.00.
The Government Act will include the constitutional provision on the Prime Minister's duty to represent Finland in the activities of the European Union requiring the participation of the highest level of State. In consequence, a separate decision on representing Finland is no longer required by the government plenary session. The Government Act will also include provisions on the President's and Prime Minister's right of initiative to summon a meeting between the Cabinet Committee on Foreign and Security Policy and the President of the Republic.
The act will also specify the provision on ministers' responsibility to notify of their disqualification. In addition to taking decisions, the need to assess cases of possible disqualification will extend to preparatory phases, for example work in ministerial working groups.
Inquiries: Marika Paavilainen, Senior Government Adviser, tel. +358 9 1602 4026 and Arno Liukko, tel. +358 9 1602 4027, Prime Ministers Office