The Ministry of Transport and Communications is responsible for the national preparation and monitoring of EU affairs concerning transport and communications. Finland’s representative in the EU Council of Ministers in its composition for the handling of transport matters is Minister of Transport Merja Kyllönen. In the composition for issues relating to communications, the representative is Minister of Housing and Communications Pia Viitanen. The Council of Ministers assembles in Brussels or in Luxembourg.
In addition to the formal meetings, the Ministers usually assemble on an informal basis twice a year. The informal meetings are held in the member country currently holding the EU Presidency.
At the Ministry of Transport and Communications, the preparation of EU affairs, led by the Ministers, takes place in the Departments for Transport Policy and Communications Policy. For each matter, the department appoints a responsible official to direct and oversee the progress and handling of the matter throughout the process.
A representative of the department will participate in the meetings of the Cabinet Committee on European Union Affairs and the parliamentary Grand Committee in the role of an expert whenever matters relating to transport and communications are being discussed.
The position of Finland on each issue under consideration in the European Union is formulated so that the opinions of the interest groups are also considered. The Government Secretariat for EU Affairs and Finland’s Permanent Representation to the European Union operating in Brussels also have a central role in the formulation of these positions.
EU legislation in matters concerning transport and communications is drafted in working parties consisting of civil servants from the different member states. The frequency of meetings by the working parties varies depending on the complexity and scope of the matter.
In the working parties, Finland is represented by experts employed by Finland's Permanent Representation to the European Union, and the meetings are also attended by experts from the Ministry of Transport and Communications or its administrative branch, depending on the national importance of the matter.
After the working party process, the matters are taken to the first Committee of Permanent Representatives (Comité des représentants permanents, Coreper I). Here, Finland is currently represented by Ambassador Marianne Huusko-Lamponen, Deputy Permanent Representative of Finland to the European Union.
After the Coreper process, matters are referred to the Council of Ministers. In the EU, matters relating to transport and communications are handled in the Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Council, which assembles four times a year. Transport issues are discussed in all four meetings of the Council, while communications issues are processed every six months, most commonly in the June and December meetings of the Council.
The Prime Minister’s Office is in charge of the overall EU policy of Finland and coordinates the preparation and handling of EU matters in the Government. The priorities of Finnish EU policy are decided on in the Cabinet Committee on European Union Affairs led by the Prime Minister.
The Parliament participates actively in the preparation of EU affairs relating to transport and communications. The Parliament is informed of every proposed change in legislation issued by the European Commission by a document entitled a Government Letter. Before each meeting of the Council of Ministers, the agenda for the meeting is discussed in the parliamentary Grand Committee.