Ministerial Committee on EU Affairs commends the Green Deal
At its meeting on Friday 31 January, the Ministerial Committee on European Union Affairs discussed the European Green Deal and its financing, the Brexit process, and financing of the Budgetary Instrument for Convergence and Competitiveness BICC.
The Ministerial Committee on European Union Affairs noted that the European Green Deal proposed by the Commission provides a positive and comprehensive approach to address the EU’s main sustainability challenges. A key element of the Green Deal is the decision of the European Council last December to achieve climate-neutrality in the EU by 2050. Similarly, the Commission’s aim to use the programme to build the EU into a fair and just society of wellbeing is well in line with the objectives Finland has set in the Government Programme. Finland will establish its positions on the individual initiatives after the Commission has given the proposals for these.
With regard to the financing of the European Green Deal, Finland stresses the need to involve private stakeholders as broadly as possible. The EU budget and public funding by the Member States alone will not be enough to finance the considerable investments that will be needed. Finland points out that the investments will also create significant economic opportunities.
In terms of the deepening of the Economic and Monetary Union, the Eurogroup will discuss in February whether the financing of the BICC should be supplemented by external financing based on treaties between states. The instrument is envisaged to be used for granting support for structural reforms and investments within the euro area. Finland does not consider this kind of supplementary financing as necessary, but has no objections to such arrangements between states who wish to do this on a voluntary basis. Finland considers that the EMU should primarily be developed within the framework of the EU treaties.
The Ministerial Committee on European Union Affairs also discussed the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. The withdrawal agreement enters into force 1 February, and it will dismantle all cooperation based on the UK’s EU membership in an orderly manner. The future relations must now be renegotiated in all sectors. The Commission will give proposals for a negotiating mandate that covers all sectors on 3 February, and this is to be approved at the General Affairs Council on 25 February.
“Tomorrow the UK is no longer a member of the EU. Finland respects the UK’s decision. Thanks to the withdrawal agreement, Brexit will take place in an orderly manner, which is a good thing. Now it is time to look into the future and focus on negotiating as close partnership relations with the UK as possible,” Prime Minister Sanna Marin says.
The Ministerial Committee on European Union Affairs also outlined Finland’s positions for the Informal Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Competitiveness (3–4 February), where the main topic to be discussed is research and innovation policy.
Inquiries: Jari Luoto, State Under-Secretary for European Affairs, tel. +358 50 468 5949, Matti Niemi, Special Adviser (EU Affairs), tel. +358 45 679 1717, Kare Halonen, State Secretary for EU Affairs, tel. +358 295 160 319, Anne Sjöholm, Head of Communications for EU Affairs, tel. +358 40 537 0733, Prime Minister’s Office