Finland: ambitious goals and a different presidency for EU leadership | Politics and Economy -

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The provision of mineral water in plastic bottles is prohibited during the Finnish rotating presidency of the European Union until the end of December. The drinking water at the Helsinki meeting center will be directly taped, the food will not be in plastic cans, and the meeting place can be reached from the hotels of the Finnish capital, the main train station and the bus station on foot, bike or tram. Car movement is undesirable and discarded. The organizers of the Finnish presidency of the European Union have decided to try to leave an environmental footprint even a small one trying within six months.

By saving money that is usually spent on guests' gifts, pens or conference materials, the Finns want to pay for carbon dioxide pollution because participants in EU meetings in Finland will travel mainly by plane and thus cause emissions, From Finland's point of view. And an expensive European summit in Finland for which the 28 EU heads of state and government travel to a fleet of planes canceled by the Finnish government. There will be no Tourism Staff tours in Helsinki. Meetings of EU officials could be held in Brussels.

Finns are betting on environmental protection

Finland's coalition government thought of leading the EU as small and sustainable as possible. There was little time left for the new Prime Minister, Ante Reinh, to make preparations. During the early parliamentary elections in April, for the first time in 16 years, the Social Democrats became the most powerful parliamentary bloc on the populist Right. The main objective for Finnish leadership in the EU is to make progress in combating global warming. "The time has come to provide solutions," Finnish Prime Minister Ante Reinh wrote in a post-op-ed at the start of his country's presidency of the European Union.

Finnland Helsinki | Jean-Claude Juncker und Antti Rinne (Getty Images / AFP / E. Korhonen)

Jean-Claude Juncker, current president of the European Commission (left) with Finnish Prime Minister Ante Reinh

"It is important for the EU to speak on this subject with one voice," Rene said. The Finns hope that EU members will soon agree to meet the goal of "neutralizing emissions" until 2050, that is, halting carbon dioxide emissions until then, and 24 EU countries have agreed to work towards that goal. The Finns plan to persuade the Vizgrad states – Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Slovakia – to change their positions. Eastern Europeans demand financial compensation for countries that could be affected by the shift in energy – the transition from traditional to sustainable energy sources.

Resent and calm

"Finland has always taken the European path, and now Europe needs leadership and stability," said EU Commissioner Jean-Claude Juncker during a visit to Helsinki by Helsinki commissioners, referring to Finland's prime minister. Finland intends to give a good example of environmental protection. Until 2035, as the new government coalition program between the Socialists and Greens states, there must be no harmful gas emissions between the capital Helsinki in the far south and Lapland in the far north of the country. By 2050, the country wants to demonstrate a "negative emission" of carbon dioxide. Finns are worried, because this summer is the hottest in history and even last year temperatures have been very high for weeks.

Money versus the rule of law

The rotating president of the European Union, Finn Ante Reinh, is invited to discuss not only environmental protection, but also the "rule of law" with the states of Vizgrad, in particular Poland and Hungary. Both countries are conducting investigations by the European Union to ensure their rule of law. In the next joint budget from 2021 to 2027, the payment of financial aid is expected to be linked to the legal system of the recipient country. Poland and Hungary, which are considered recipient countries, oppose this linkage.

Promises to the Balkans

Ante Reinh wants to put pressure on the new promises of the Western Balkans. A date is set to begin accession negotiations for northern Macedonia and Albania during the Finnish Presidency of the European Union. Here, Germany has been pressing the brakes even though the European Commission has confirmed the maturity of the two countries to enter into negotiations. "Finland has always been a friend of expansion," Rene said in Helsinki. Neutral Finland joined the European Union in 1995 after the great neighbor, the Soviet Union, collapsed and Europe was politically reorganized.

EU-Parlament Ursula von der Leyen (Reuters / V. Kessler)

Ursula von Derlin, candidate for the presidency of the European Commission

There is an obstacle that the ambitious Finnish presidency may face: Within four months, a new EU commissioner will be in charge, possibly under the chairmanship of German Ursula von derlein. This means a bit of vitality for the outgoing UNHCR and the period of integration into the work of the new Chairperson. Much of the move in European workshops in this period remains dubious, European diplomats say. The budget dispute could be resolved under the German presidency of the European Union in the second half of 2020.

Brixset problem also

Britain's withdrawal has already been postponed twice and is now expected at the latest on October 31. The Finnish presidency of the European Union has much to do with the management of the BRICSET process, especially if it happens without a withdrawal agreement. "In fact, we expected the British to be outside the EU during our presidency, but they are still sitting on the table," a Finnish diplomat said.

Bernd Rigert / M.S.

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