European Union affairs

  1. Council of the European Union
  2. Preparation of EU affairs in Finland
  3. Preparation of matters and decision-making in the Council of the European Union
  4. Finland's Presidency of the Council of the European Union

1. Council of the European Union

The Council of the European Union negotiates and adopts EU legislation together with the European Parliament. In the meetings of the Council, ministers of EU Member States discuss legislative proposals and adopt new legislation. The Council meets in 10 different configurations.

In the Transport and Telecommunications Council, Finland is represented by the Minister of Transport and Communications. Ministers meet in Brussels or Luxembourg.

In addition to the formal Councils, ministers also attend informal meetings. They are held in the country holding the Presidency of the Council.

2. Preparation of EU affairs in Finland

The Ministry is responsible for national-level preparation and monitoring of EU affairs in the transport and communications sectors.

At the Ministry of Transport and Communications, EU affairs are prepared under the leadership of the minister. Responsibility for each matter is assigned to a public official who guides and monitors its development throughout the process. The Ministry's International Affairs Unit is responsible for ensuring that the management of matters concerning the EU is of high quality and efficient.

In drafting Finland's position on any EU matter, the opinions of stake holders are considered. The Secretariat for EU Affairs at the Prime Minister's Office and Finland's Permanent Representation to the EU in Brussels play an important role in the preparation process.

The Prime Minister's Office is responsible for Finland's general EU policy and for coordinating the preparation and consideration of EU-related matters in the ministries. Decisions concerning the general guidelines of Finland's EU policy are made by the Ministerial Committee on European Union Affairs. The Committee is chaired by the Prime Minister.

Parliament is closely involved in preparing EU affairs in the transport and communications sectors. By a government communication, it is informed of legislative proposals submitted by the European Commission. The agenda of each Council of the European Union is discussed at the parliamentary Grand Committee.

3. Preparation of matters and decision-making in the Council of the European Union

Transport and communications matters in the EU are prepared in working groups of public officials of Member States. Finland is represented in the working groups by specialists working in Finland's Permanent Representation to the EU. Often the meetings are also attended by a specialist from the Ministry of Transport and Communications or its administrative branch.

After the working group process, matters are discussed in the first assembly of Coreper (Coreper I). There Finland is represented by the deputy permanent representative.

After Coreper, matters are transferred to the Council of the European Union. Transport and communications matters are discussed in the Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Council. It meets around four times a year. Transport and communications matters are dealt with in every six months, usually in June and December Councils.

4. Finland's Presidency of the Council of the European Union

Finland will hold the Presidency of the Council of the European Union between 1 July and 31 December 2019. The presidency of the Council rotates in an established order among the EU Member States every six months. During Finland's Presidency, the Minister of Transport and Communications will chair the transport and communications councils.

The main themes of the Ministry of Transport and Communications are data economy, transport automation, digitalisation in transport services and carbon-free transport.