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Ministerial Committee on European Union Affairs discussed Brexit, Arctic questions and the Europe 2020 strategy

Government Communications Department 29.3.2019 11.43 | Published in English on 29.3.2019 at 14.29
Press release 185/2019
Ministerial Committee on European Union Affairs discussed Brexit, Arctic questions and the Europe 2020 strategy

In its meeting on Friday 29 March, the Ministerial Committee on EU Affairs discussed preparedness for a no-deal Brexit, the EU's Arctic policy and Finland's National Reform Programme, which is part of the Europe 2020 strategy.

Prime Minister Juha Sipilä gave a report on the discussions on Brexit at the European Council (21 and 22 March) and presented the outcomes. EU leaders agreed to extend the Brexit deadline until 12 April, provided that the UK House of Commons adopt the withdrawal agreement concluded with the EU by the end of this week. If not, the withdrawal date will be 12 April and the UK is expected to inform the EU of its way forward before that. The Ministerial Committee on EU Affairs discussed Finland's national preparations in the event of a no-deal Brexit. In Finland, ministries are responsible for preparedness measures in their own branch of government and will provide information about them. The meeting looked into each ministry's principal preparedness measures.

The Ministerial Committee on EU Affairs discussed Finland's goals in the development of the EU's Arctic policy. Finland considers the European Union a key partner in the Arctic region. Finland is working to increase the weight of Arctic matters in the EU and to promote the development and implementation of the EU's Arctic policy in a concrete manner. The year 2019, when the new European Parliament, European Commission and the Presidency of the Council of the European Union assume their functions, marks an institutional turning point for the EU and is also important for the EU's Arctic policy.

The Ministerial Committee on EU Affairs also discussed the annual programme describing the measures taken by the Government of Finland in 2018 to attain its national targets.

The Ministerial Committee drafted Finland’s positions for the following Councils:

  • Informal meeting of Energy Ministers, 2 April
  • Informal meeting of Competitiveness Ministers, 3 April (research)
  • Informal meeting of Finance Ministers and the Eurogroup, 5–6 April

The informal meeting of Energy Ministers will discuss the future of the EU's energy supply system and the future priorities of its energy policy. The informal meeting of Competitiveness Ministers will explore ways to close the gap in the levels of research and innovation activities in the different Member States and discuss the development of the European strategic initiative for research and innovation in the Black Sea. The informal meeting of Finance Ministers will discuss the priorities in the Ecofin sector in the coming years, the future of the Capital Markets Union, and taxation and the labour market. The Eurogroup's agenda will include discussions with the ECB's banking oversight body and the European Single Resolution Mechanism, taking stock of the situation in Greece, Luxembourg's draft budget plan and recent developments in inflation and exchange rates. The extended Eurogroup meeting will discuss the administration of the euro area's budget instrument supporting convergence and competitiveness, along with the road map for political deliberations concerning a European deposit guarantee.

Inquiries: Kare Halonen, State Secretary for EU Affairs, tel. +358 295 160 319, Niina Nurkkala, Special Adviser (EU Affairs), tel. +358 50 347 2661, and Anne Sjöholm, Head of Communications for EU Affairs, tel. +358 40 537 0733, Prime Minister's Office