Ministerial Committee on European Union Affairs discusses European Council and EU-ASEAN summit
In its meeting today, the Ministerial Committee on European Union Affairs outlined Finland’s positions for the European Council on 15 December and the EU-ASEAN summit on 14 December, both of which will take place in Brussels. The Ministerial Committee was also briefed on the use of funds frozen as a result of sanctions against Russia to support the reconstruction of Ukraine.
Topics on the agenda for this week’s European Council meeting include Ukraine, energy and the economy, security and defence, the Southern Neighbourhood, and external relations.
In Finland’s view, it is important that the EU continue to respond to Russia’s attack on Ukraine in a strong, effective and united manner. Finland supports efforts to bring Russia and its representatives to justice for the consequences of the illegal war of aggression, including by requiring Russia to pay compensation for the damage caused by the war. The EU and its international partners must examine and specify as soon as possible means to ensure that Russia will pay the appropriate compensation in accordance with EU and international law. In addition, the EU must consistently ramp up sanctions against Russia as its aggression continues.
Finland emphasises that the EU must continue and increase its strong political, economic, and military support and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine. Finland supports the Commission’s proposal to grant EUR 18 billion in macro-financial assistance to Ukraine in 2023. In Finland’s view, it is important for the EU to respond to Ukraine’s financial needs in a united manner.
Finland considers it important to address problems with the energy market quickly at the EU level and is open to exploring different options for reducing energy prices and mitigating uncertainty and risks in the market. The economic debate at the European Council will focus on ways to improve the robustness of the economy, among other matters.
With regard to security and defence issues, the Council’s discussion will focus on the implementation of the Strategic Compass. It is important for Finland that the EU is now focusing not only on crisis management and training operations but increasingly on supporting the defence of the Member States, developing military capabilities and the basis for European defence industries and technologies, and ensuring the security of citizens. The EU must be united in its response to cyber and hybrid threats.
The European Council will hold strategic discussions on the EU’s relations with the countries in the Southern Neighbourhood and with the United States. The Council may also discuss EU enlargement policy and agree on granting candidate country status to Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The objective of the first summit between the EU and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations is to strengthen the strategic partnership between the parties and to decide on areas for closer cooperation between the EU and the ASEAN countries. At the summit, the leaders plan to discuss global and regional security issues, economic and trade cooperation and sustainable development, including the green and digital transition.
In Finland’s view, the summit is an important step in implementing the EU-ASEAN strategic partnership agreed on in 2020. Cooperation with the Indo-Pacific region is a clear geopolitical priority for the EU, and establishing closer relations with ASEAN and its member countries is in line with this goal.
Inquiries: Jari Luoto, Director General, EU Affairs Department, tel. +358 50 468 5949, Saara Pokki, Special Adviser (EU Affairs), tel. +358 50 478 6363 and Rami Kurth, Communications Specialist (EU Affairs), tel. +358 50 465 7963, Prime Minister’s Office