29th Jun 2022

Finland's EU presidency to tackle constitution

The Finnish EU presidency will focus on continuing ratification of the EU constitution, transparency, globalisation and climate change, when it takes over the rotating presidency in just over a month's time.

A preliminary agenda for Finland's EU presidency was adopted by the Nordic country's parliamentary committee on European Union Affairs on Wednesday (24 May).

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Every semester an EU member state takes over the presidency of the bloc. On 1 July 2006 Finland will take over the rotating presidency from Austria and will hand it over to Germany on 1 January 2007.

Helsinki also wants to put the EU constitutional process back on the agenda despite its rejection by two of the bloc's founding members France and the Netherlands in their 2004 referenda. "Simply extending the period of reflection is not enough to move the process on," a government statement said.

During its six months of the presidency, Helsinki will also focus on Europe's current challenges such as globalisation, improving competitiveness, population ageing, management of climate change and security in Europe.

Recently, the Nordic country proclaimed to the EU and Russia that protecting the environment and economic growth can go hand in hand in an attempt to enhance green issues on the agenda.

The country, which became a member of the EU in 1995 together with Sweden and Austria, also wants to promote openness and transparency of European Union legislative work and make the EU decision-making process more efficient.

"Finland believes that public confidence in the European Union can be improved if it can achieve certain concrete objectives in areas where the EU can clearly be more effective than the member states acting separately," the statement said.

During a visit to the Croatian capital of Zagreb last week, Finnish prime minister Matti Vanhanen said his presidency will back further EU enlargement, giving a boost to EU hopefuls Croatia and Turkey.

The agenda will be finalised after the results of the Austrian EU presidency and the June 2006 EU summit have come to light. Mr Vanhanen will present the official priorities of the Finnish EU presidency to the country's parliament on 21 June.

The official website for Finland's EU presidency will open on 31 May 2006 at:

Finland prepares culinary wonders for presidency

Finnish cuisine, the subject of many a harsh joke, is to show its best side as the country takes over the EU presidency in from July with forest delicacies and multi-cultural food to be served to visitors.

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EU leaders will also discuss eurozone issues with European Central Bank president Christine Lagarde, as more and more leaders are worried about voters' distress at soaring inflation.


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Bulgaria's target date for joining the eurozone, 1 January 2024, seems elusive. The collapse of Kiril Petkov's government, likely fresh elections, with populists trying to score cheap points against the 'diktat of the eurocrats', might well delay accession.

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