Annex 7. Memo of the working group on Europe regarding the key themes of Finland’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union

Strong and united – EU that delivers: Priorities for Finland’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union

A united European Union that strictly defends its values can solve the greatest challenges of our time, build wellbeing and prosperity, and secure a sustainable single market.

EU as a global climate leader

During Finland’s Presidency the EU will raise its profile as a global climate leader. A long-term climate strategy will be established for the EU which will enable it to become carbon neutral by 2050. The EU will also make good use of the new opportunities offered by a low-carbon bioeconomy and low-carbon circular economy, and the growth and export potential that these provide, and will ensure the transition to a socially just, carbon neutral society.

Presidency objective: A high-level conference will be held at the end of Finland’s Presidency, at which the EU countries and key stakeholders will develop solutions for a fair transition towards a carbon neutral society where emission reduction targets will be reached in a socially just and regionally equitable manner while also building economic prosperity.

EU that strengthens the rule of law and human rights

The story of Europe’s success will be based on democratic institutions and the rule of law. The rule of law must be reinforced so that the people of Europe can enjoy peace and equal rights, and so that the EU can credibly defend the multilateral, rules-based international system and international human rights institutions. This will also enhance the predictability of the economic operating environment and will be to the benefit of Europe’s citizens and the businesses located within the EU.

Ensuring the application of human rights and the rule of law also means assuring a comprehensive level of safety and security for everyone. Particular attention will be given to contingency planning to meet different kinds of hybrid threats and threats to broader safety and security. The EU must also participate more effectively in conflict prevention and mediation, focusing particularly on the special roles of young people and women.

Presidency objective: During Finland’s Presidency shared tools will be developed for strengthening the foundations of the rule of law in the EU. EU funding will be linked to compliance with the rule of law. The position of civil society and the status of independent courts will be secured.

Competitive and socially inclusive EU

The EU’s competitiveness will be assured if there is a well-functioning single market, a rules-based system of free trade and a regulatory framework that is of a high standard and up to date. Centre stage in the creation of a more competitive and economically robust EU will be occupied by research, development and innovation and by a comprehensive commitment to digitalisation. Through advances in regional equity, social justice and gender equality, the EU will foster sustainable growth, wellbeing and prosperity.

It is important that the EU should strengthen its partnership relations with African countries and with the African Union.

Presidency objective: During Finland’s Presidency a decision will be taken on a new growth strategy for the EU, aimed at ensuring the EU becomes the world’s most competitive and socially inclusive low-carbon economy.