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Priorities and programme – Finnish Presidency 2019

The priorities for Finland’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union are to strengthen common values and the rule of law, to make the EU more competitive and socially inclusive, to strengthen the EU’s position as a global leader in climate action and to protect the security of citizens comprehensively. Finland published its Presidency Programme on 26 June.

A competitive and socially inclusive EU

The European economy is still growing, though the pace of growth has slowed. Tensions in global trade, the transformation of work, the revolution in technology, and the ageing of the population all pose challenges for economic growth, employment, wellbeing and prosperity. 

Our objective should be a competitive and socially inclusive EU. The single market, rules-based free trade and up-to-date regulation of a high standard are the elements that make the EU collectively competitive. The EU needs a comprehensive long-term strategy for sustainable growth and competitiveness.

The emphasis must be on taking full advantage of research, development, innovation and digitalisation. By fostering skills, education and training, regional and social fairness, and gender equality, the EU will create sustainable growth and wellbeing for its citizens.

At the same time, the EU should promote opportunities for citizens to participate in society, to work and to upgrade their skills. We must focus especially on youth employment and on inclusion among young people. We cannot afford to lose a generation.

The key requirements for growth, wellbeing and prosperity are: 

  • a comprehensive single market
  • wellbeing and skills
  • an ambitious, open and rules-based trade policy, and
  • an inclusive economic union.

Our long-term goal should be to make the EU the world’s most competitive and socially inclusive low-carbon economy.

Towards an inclusive economic union

To attain sustainable economic growth, the EU must work systematically to establish a more resilient capital market, a fully-fledged banking union and a robust crisis management framework. The EU also needs more transparent economic policy coordination. The ultimate responsibility for economic policies, however, rests with the member states.

Europe must invest now and in the coming years in technological innovations and in actions to mitigate climate change. Only a healthy banking sector can finance the investments needed. Determined efforts are therefore needed to reduce risks in the banking sector. 

Finland’s Presidency aims to   

  • adopt an ambitious approach to completing the banking union, continuing discussions on issues such as risk reduction, the regulatory treatment of sovereign exposures and a common deposit insurance scheme
  • strengthen the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) by promoting risk diversification in the capital markets, thereby supporting the sustainability and resilience of the EMU
  • promote sustainable and green finance as part of the EU’s climate action
  • combat aggressive tax planning and tax evasion, and reduce harmful tax competition
  • make sure that supervisors have sufficient powers in the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing.

Under the Finnish Presidency, discussions will also continue on a new budgetary instrument for the eurozone, a strengthened European Stability Mechanism and taxation of the digital economy.

More information at EU2019.FI:
Priorities and programme
Sustainable finance: classification system for sustainability of investments
Cross-border crowdfunding: new financing opportunities for businesses
Common action to counter hybrid threats