Minister Tuppurainen to attend General Affairs Council

Government Communications Department 24.2.2020 14.30
Press release 90/2020

Minister of European Affairs and Ownership Steering Tytti Tuppurainen will attend the General Affairs Council on Tuesday 25 February in Brussels. Items on the ministers’ agenda include preparing for the March European Council and adopting a Council decision authorising the Commission to open negotiations on a new partnership with the UK.

The ministers will begin their preparations for the March European Council (26–27 March) by holding a discussion on its agenda. The European Council is set to discuss strengthening the EU’s economic base, digitalisation, enlargement and topical issues in external relations.

The Council will also adopt a decision authorising the Commission to open negotiations on a new post-Brexit partnership with the UK. At the same time, it will adopt negotiating directives for the Commission. Finland is ready to accept the decision to open negotiations and the Commission’s negotiating directives.

At the Council’s public session, the ministers will discuss the Commission’s work programme for 2020 and the joint legislative planning of the EU institutions. Finland will continue to promote the key themes of its EU Council Presidency (common values and the rule of law, a more competitive and socially integrated Union, the EU as a global climate leader and the comprehensive security of citizens). In its legislative planning work, Finland is placing particular emphasis on the European Green development programme, creating an economy that works for people and the digital development of Europe.

At the meeting, the Commission will present its proposal for a more effective EU enlargement policy. In Finland's view, a credible enlargement policy is an investment in peace, stability, security and economic growth throughout Europe. The Commission’s proposal provides a good basis for further discussion. The reform of the enlargement policy should proceed in such a way that a decision can be reached on the opening of accession negotiations between Albania and Northern Macedonia before the EU-Western Balkans Summit in May. The upcoming EU multiannual financial framework will be on the agenda of the meeting as a possible information item for the Croatian Presidency.

In the General Affairs Council (GAC), the EU Member States are primarily represented by their own ministers of European affairs. The tasks of the Council include preparations for the European Council meetings. The GAC is also responsible for a number of cross-cutting policy areas, including negotiations on the multiannual financial framework and EU enlargement. Questions relating to the rule of law are also an established part of the Council’s agenda.

Inquiries: Heli Siivola, Senior Specialist for EU Affairs, tel. +358 295 160 476 and Pilvi-Elina Kupias, Special Adviser, tel. +358 295 160 995, Prime Minister's Office