The 18 July plenary session of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) played host to Finland's Minister of Social Affairs and Health Aino-Kaisa Pekonen, who presented the programme of the Finnish EU presidency. This includes a special focus on sustainability and the wellbeing of citizens. Ms Pekonen also highlighted enhancing the rule of law and EU values among the presidency's other priorities.
Introducing Aino-Kaisa Pekonen's speech, EESC president Luca Jahier spoke of the main challenges the Finnish EU presidency would have to address. "The implementation of Agenda 2030", said Mr Jahier, "will need a holistic approach that requires economic and social challenges to be addressed together." With this in mind, Ms Pekonen announced: "Finland wants to have an impact on the EU's future and this future should be socially, economically and ecologically sustainable."
The EU's global leadership in climate action is therefore a key priority for Finland's presidency. To this end, it expects to reach an agreement on the main elements of a long-term plan committing the EU to climate neutrality by the end of 2019, as requested by the European Council.
The Finnish presidency will also strengthen dialogue not only with other global actors, but also within the EU with other institutions and partners. "Dialogue with social partners is one of the priorities of the Finnish presidency", concluded Ms Pekonen. "The EESC plays a key role and we are pleased that it is drafting key opinions that are in line with our proposals." (dgf)