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Ministerial Committee on EU Affairs outlines positions on Ukraine and competitiveness ahead of European Council

Government Communications Department
Publication date 22.3.2023 12.29
Press release
Flags of Finland and the EU

On Wednesday 22 March, the Ministerial Committee on European Union Affairs outlined Finland’s positions for the European Council meeting, the Euro Summit and the meeting of the EU Energy Council, and discussed the proposal for a regulation on CO2 emission standards for new heavy-duty vehicles.

The European Council on 23–24 March will focus on Ukraine, competitiveness, the single market, the economy, and energy. The EU leaders will also receive a briefing on migration. In connection with the meeting, the European Council will discuss Russia’s war of aggression and its global impacts with UN Secretary-General António Guterres. 

Finland emphasises that the EU must continue and increase its strong political, economic, and military support and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine. Finland is prepared to take a positive look at new proposals for increasing support to Ukraine and for assisting the Ukrainian armed forces. Finland is in favour of using joint procurement to support Ukraine. Finland supports ramping up sanctions consistently as Russia’s aggression continues and considers it important that the sanctions are implemented effectively and that measures are in place to prevent circumvention. Finland supports efforts to bring Russia to justice for the illegal war of aggression and its impacts.

The European Council will discuss Europe’s long-term strategy to boost its competitiveness and productivity, and will explore ways to harness the full potential of the single market.

In Finland’s view, fair competition, a well-functioning single market, active trade policy and the efficient use of existing EU resources form the foundation for the EU’s long-term competitiveness and play a key role in solving both current and future challenges. Open, rules-based trade is crucial for securing competitiveness and supporting the green transition. It is important that the EU remains open to international trade and investments while ensuring a level playing field.

The Euro Summit on 24 March will focus on the economic situation in the euro area and on policy coordination, which will also be the topics of a joint declaration to be signed by the Member States. Finland considers it important to deepen the Banking Union, initially by developing crisis resolution and legislation on deposit guarantees.

At the Energy Council on 28 March, the ministers will seek a general approach to the gas market package. As a rule, Finland welcomes the development of an internal gas market and supports closer integration of the single market. The ministers will also discuss the EU’s electricity market redesign. A further item on the agenda will be extending the validity of the regulation on coordinated measures to reduce the demand for gas.

The European Commission’s proposal for a regulation updating the CO2 emission standards for heavy-duty vehicles will apply to new heavy-duty vehicles from 2030 onwards. The aim is to advance the EU’s emissions reduction and climate neutrality targets cost-effectively. The Government will publish its positions after its plenary session.

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