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Minister Terho to attend General Affairs Council

Government Communications Department 10.12.2018 11.08 | Published in English on 10.12.2018 at 16.08
Press release 587/2018

Minister for European Affairs, Culture and Sport Sampo Terho will represent Finland at the meeting of the General Affairs Council of the EU in Brussels on Tuesday 11 December. The main topics of the Council’s meeting are the EU’s multiannual financial framework for 2021–2027 and the preparations for the European Council meeting in December.

The European Council’s exchange of views on the 2021–2027 multiannual financial framework (MFF) will draw on Austria’s progress report and the draft for a ‘negotiating box’. In Finland’s view, the progress made during Austria’s Presidency of the Council forms a good basis for further steps. Finland supports the new priorities proposed by the Commission in the draft MFF, such as defence cooperation, addressing migration and additional investments in research and innovation. Finland also considers it important to find ways to strengthen the link between EU funding and respecting the principle of the rule of law. The Commission’s proposal responds to this need. Finland’s position is that the overall financial framework level proposed by the Commission is too high. The overall level should be set as close as possible to the current aggregate relative GDP level of the EU Member States. The cuts to agriculture funding proposed by the Commission would have a greater relative impact on the Agricultural Fund for Rural Development than on direct support for agriculture, which is not in Finland’s interest.

The General Affairs Council will discuss the draft conclusions of the December European Council meeting (13–14 December), which will address the next multiannual financial framework, the Single Market, migration, disinformation and citizens’ dialogues, among other topics. Finland’s objective is to achieve solid and forward-looking conclusions on deepening the Single Market, including digitalisation and services. In the context of migration, Finland feels it is of key importance to take concrete steps to implement the global approach to migration adopted by the European Council in June 2018.

In its meeting, the Council will also endorse the new 18-month programme for the next three consecutive presidencies, i.e. the trio programme. Romania, Finland and Croatia agreed on the programme over the course of the autumn together with the Chair of the Foreign Affairs Council. The programme serves to safeguard continuity in Council work. During Finland’s Council of Europe Presidency in autumn 2019, the Council’s work will focus strongly on implementing the new EU strategic agenda for 2019–2024, to be agreed upon by the Council of Europe next summer.

The Council will also continue its hearing on the rule of law in Poland and exchange views on the values of the European Union and its proposal concerning Hungary.

Further information on the meeting on the website of the Council of Europe.

Inquiries: Heli Siivola, Senior Specialist for EU Affairs, tel. +358 295 160 476, Prime Minister’s Office