Finns take part actively in the EU citizens’ dialogue
Last year, more than the usual number of EU-related discussion forums were organised in different parts of Finland. Recently published report also indicates that Finland participated actively in the EU countries’ joint campaign to promote citizens’ dialogue.
In February 2018, Prime Minister Juha Sipilä launched a round of dialogue with the aim of hearing citizens’ views on the future of Finland and the EU. The forums held in Oulu, Turku, Vaasa and Kuopio focused on issues such as sustainable growth, the future of work and technology, research and innovation, lifelong learning, and stability and security in Europe. In addition, what the EU would be like if it were established now was the topic at the Prime Minister’s open EU discussions.
Other ministers also actively participated in citizens’ dialogue dealing with their own sectors.
The discussion tour on the future of Finland and the EU, organised by Europe Information, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, continued, with events held in different parts of Finland. Europe Information also supported EU dialogue projects of civil society organisations.
Citizens’ dialogue on EU affairs was also promoted in cooperation with the European Commission Representation in Finland, the European Parliament Information Office, the Institute for International Affairs, and regional and local actors.
Alongside the active citizens’ dialogue, there is also a need for comparable information on the views of EU citizens. Finland has paid attention to utilising Eurobarometer surveys as support for EU decision-making.
According to the Standard Eurobarometer of autumn 2018, the majority of Finns believe that their voice has weight in the EU. At EU level, the main concerns of Finns are migration, climate change, the state of general government finances in the Member States, and terrorism.
It is important that the voice of Finns is also heard in the European Parliament elections on 26 May 2019. Citizens’ dialogue on EU affairs is also enlivened this year by Finland’s Presidency of the EU, which starts on 1 July 2019.
Civil society organisations play an important role in promoting citizens’ dialogue and increasing EU awareness. In view of the upcoming European Parliament elections, government aid to civil society organisations, to be used for providing information on the EU, has been increased.
Inquiries: Heli Siivola, Senior Specialist for EU Affairs tel. +358 295 160 476, Prime Minister’s Office, Ville Cantell, Head of Unit, tel. +358 295 351 847, Europe Information, Ministry for Foreign Affairs