Finland's Presidency Will Put Sustainability First

Finland's Presidency Will Put Sustainability First

Starting today, Finland will hold the six-month rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union from 1 July 2019. Finland has decided to rethink Presidency traditions and practices in line with the principles of sustainable development. The approach is driven by the need to respond to climate change.

Prime Minister Antti Rinne's announcement to Parliament on Finland’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union 26.6.2019. Photo: Lauri Heikkinen/EU2019FI. Read the full speech. 

Finland will chair the Council of the EU ministerial meetings and meetings of working groups and experts. Finland will be responsible for taking forward the Council's work on EU legislation and the policy initiatives of the Council, and for ensuring the continuity of the EU agenda. In line with the European Council’s new Strategic Agenda, the priorities for Finland’s Presidency are:

•    to strengthen common values and the rule of law
•    to make the EU more competitive and socially inclusive
•    to strengthen the EU’s position as a global leader in climate action
•    to protect the security of citizens comprehensively

Sustainable Europe – Sustainable Future

Finland is committed to sustainable meeting arrangements during its Presidency of the Council of the European Union. Finland is keen to show that a successful and welcoming presidency can be achieved by ecologically sustainable means.

Finland believes that a successful Presidency can be arranged with a smaller carbon footprint. Finland has decided not to hand out traditional presidency gifts, but instead use the money to offset the carbon emissions caused by air travel to Presidency meetings in Helsinki and Brussels for discussing topical EU matters. The emissions will be offset through Gold Standard CERs, which support climate positive projects.

The meeting venue, Finlandia Hall, within easy reach on foot or by public transportation. Finlandia Hall/Pete Laakso

During the Finnish Presidency, Finland will host six informal meetings of ministers in Helsinki, all of them in Finlandia Hall. This centrally located meeting venue, with excellent transport links, serves to reduce the amount of additional traffic generated in the local area.

The opening of the presidency period will be celebrated on July 8 at an open summer event on the Kansalaistori square and in Töölönlahti Park. At the opening, the visitors can experience the Finnish summer day at its best. Learn more about the wide variety of meetings taking place during Finland's Presidency of the Council of the EU.

Sustainable communications will be used for media accreditation and when possible web conferencing for preparatory meetings. Photo: EU2019Fi

Furthermore, Finland’s Presidency arrangements will emphasise the importance of the circular economy and Green meetings, for example by replacing the use of paper and single-use plastic materials with digital applications, biodegradable innovations and minimising food waste.

Finland promotes the implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development with respect to the Sustainable Development Goals during the Presidency and supports the EU for its aim to become carbon neutral by 2050. Climate action should be present in all work in the EU, and Finland strives to work for the EU to be a global leader in the field.