Prime Minister Marin to attend video meeting of EU leaders
Prime Minister Sanna Marin will attend the informal videoconference of the members of the European Council on 25 and 26 February. Topics on the agenda for the meeting include the EU’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, preparedness for health threats, security and defence, and the EU’s relations with the Southern Neighbourhood.
Finland supports the EU’s strong joint efforts to prevent the re-escalation of the pandemic and, in particular, to curb the spread of more transmissible virus variants. Key measures to combat COVID-19 include effective testing and tracing, more efficient detection of virus variants, and targeted local and regional measures to prevent the spread of infections. Finland stresses the importance of speeding up vaccine delivery to the Member States and supports the Commission’s efforts to increase production in Europe. Finland also supports promoting and enhancing information exchange, horizontal cooperation and coordination within the existing structures.
The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the need for close cooperation and coordination between the EU Member States during health crises. In Finland’s view, it is important to strengthen the Union’s capacity to respond to and prepare for cross-border health threats. When it comes to international health crises, we need to improve our capacity for prevention, preparedness, supervision and coordination during emergency conditions at the EU level. Finland supports the present division of competence in the field of health policy.
Finland is also in favour of strengthening and developing the EU’s security and defence policy. The EU must be able to promote its values and interests with determination, and to act independently if necessary. A strong Europe is also a strong partner. In Finland’s view, the EU’s partnerships, such as its cooperation with NATO, the UN and its transatlantic partners, play an integral role in the Union’s security and defence cooperation. Improving crisis management is about fostering peace and stability and strengthening the EU’s credibility. Finland attaches a great deal of importance to protecting Europe and ensuring solidarity between the Member States. To strengthen the EU’s resilience to crises, we need to take into account a wide range of factors affecting security, such as hybrid threats, new technologies and security of supply.
Finland supports updating the EU’s objectives with regard to the Southern Neighbourhood and stresses the importance of political commitment from the countries involved in implementing the Union’s Neighbourhood policy. It is vital that the values of the EU, including human rights, gender equality, good governance and the rule of law, continue to be at the heart of our Neighbourhood policy.
Inquiries: Jari Luoto, State Under-Secretary for European Affairs, tel. +358 50 468 5949, Tuulia Pitkänen, Special Adviser (EU Affairs), tel. +358 295 160 231, Anne Sjöholm, Head of Communications for EU Affairs, tel. +358 40 537 0733, Prime Minister’s Office