Monday 26 January 2009

Future EU policy: Finland

The Government of Finland hosts a seminar on 2 February 2008 about future Finnish EU policy.

The report being drafted is a policy paper addressed to the Parliament. At the conclusion of the debate on a government report, the report shall be referred to a Committee for preparation, unless the Parliament decides to revert to the agenda without such referral. After the Committee has considered the government report, it shall in its report propose a formula for the Parliament’s opinion on the government report; the Parliament shall decide the final content of the formula and revert to the agenda.

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

Government Communications Unit
26.1.2009 12.19

Broad-based seminar to consider Finland’s future EU policy

Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen has convened a seminar to discuss the vision for Finland’s EU policy on Monday, 2 February. The aim of the seminar is to map out priorities for EU policy and support the preparation of the Government report on EU policy currently being drafted.

The seminar ‘Vision for Finland’s EU policy in the 2010s’ to be held at Finlandia Hall will be attended by some 300 participants representing NGOs, interest groups, parties, administration and the media.

Prime Minister Vanhanen will address the seminar with an opening speech and a conclusion of the discussions at the end of the day. All participants have been asked to determine three priorities for Finland’s EU policy in the 2010s. A summary of the results of the advance enquiry will be heard at the seminar.

Two themes have been chosen to provoke discussion. Presentations on the internal strength and efficiency of the Union will be held by Chairman of the Finnish Social Democratic Party Jutta Urpilainen, President of the Finnish Confederation of Professionals STTK Mikko Mäenpää and Minister for Foreign Affairs Aleksander Stubb. The theme ‘EU as a global actor’ will be addressed by President Martti Ahtisaari, Member of the European Commission Olli Rehn and Vice-Chair of the Reflection Group on EU’s future Jorma Ollila.

The entire seminar will be filmed. The webcast will be available after the seminar on the Government website at

Further information: Jukka Salovaara, State Under-Secretary for EU Affairs, Government Secretariat for EU Affairs, tel. +358 9 1602 2182 and Mikko Norros, Chief Communications Specialist, Government Communications Unit, tel. +358 9 1602 4008


Source: Government press release Press release 24/2009 (in English):

The press release is also available in Finnish and Swedish.

Ralf Grahn


  1. I'm quite impressed with this level of parliamentary debate and it would be very interesting to see how it plays out.

    Do the Finns usually do this with EU affairs or is this a new development?

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  4. Eurocentric,

    We could say that it is established practice between the Government and the Parliament to debate a broader policy area outside the more limited scope of individual proposals for new laws.

    The Government issues a paper on, for instance climate change and energy, or regional policy, or security and defence policy. In this case it has promised one on EU policy.

    The Parliament debates in plenary and the report can then be sent to a committee for further deliberation. This can lead to more or less consensual guidance from the Parliament, when the committee report returns to the plenary.

    Even if there are differences especially in emphasis between the political parties (parliamentary groups), these exercises often serve consensus building between government parties and opposition groups.

    In EU affairs, reports of this kind have been used during the various stages of treaty reform, for instance before and after an intergovernmental conference.

    The coming report on EU policy gives these policies some visibility ahead of the European elections, but on a more factual basis it offers an opportunity to take stock of developments and to try to steer a course for the coming years with a new European Parliament and a new Commission.

  5. Thanks for the explanation.

    Sounds like a very good way of doing it.

  6. death to the EU, its undemocratic and fascist since it doesnt listen to the people


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