Thursday, 9 April 2009

Finland’s EU policy: New report

We have posted earlier that the Government of Finland had promised an EU policy paper to Parliament this spring. It has now been published.

Here is the text of the Government’s press release:


Government Communications Unit

8.4.2009 14.05

Government Report on Finland’s EU Policy to be submitted to Parliament
The Government has, on Wednesday, 8 April, adopted a Report on Finland’s EU Policy. The report discusses the impact of EU membership on Finland, sets out basic guidelines and key objectives for Finland’s EU policy, considers ways to develop the exercise of influence in the EU, and analyses the development of the European Union.

In addition, the report takes a more far-reaching approach to the development of the European Union, presenting visions for the 2020s. The objective is to promote wide-ranging discussion on Finland’s EU policy in Parliament and in the Finnish society as a whole, with a view to issues such as the forthcoming European Parliament elections to be held in summer.

”This is the Government’s opening of discussion on Finland’s EU policy. Not least because of voting activity, I challenge the opposition, labour market organisations and NGOs to put forward their views on the type of EU policy that Finland should pursue,” Prime Minister Vanhanen said in connection with the release of the report.

According to the report, the effects of EU membership have been very positive in Finland. The membership has provided support for the economic environment in Finland and opened a variety of significant channels to exert influence. Membership in the EU has also brought clear advantages to citizens.

Finland’s priorities in the European Union focus on aspects such as the citizens’ Europe, the economic success of Europe and the EU's role as a prominent global actor. Special attention should be paid on determined efforts to eliminate obstacles to the mobility of people: Moving from one Member State to another should not be more complicated than moving within a country. Internal markets, a solid, level playing field and the euro lay the EU’s economic foundations. In the future, too, the EU's economic success will be dependant on the high level of knowledge and skills. A European Union acting in unison is best equipped to influence global development.

It is natural that Finland, as a prosperous Member State, belongs to the net contributors in the Union. The Government Report suggests that the EU budget be simplified, and the EU’s regional and structural policies be more particularly targeted at regions affected by poverty and special circumstances.

Finland’s EU policy is based on constructive exercise of influence, and Finland considers it important that the EU is strong and able to act. It is in the interest of Finland that matters be discussed at the EU level as this practise involves Finland in the decision-making process.

Further information: Jukka Salovaara, State Under-Secretary for EU Affairs, Government Secretariat for EU Affairs, tel. +358 9 1602 2182

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Report

The 42 page Report is available in Finnish and in Swedish. An English translation will be published soon, hopefully here.




Ralf Grahn