Finland proposes EU Strategy for Preparedness Union

Finland has introduced its Preparedness Union initiative to the European Union, proposing that the EU would develop the first a crisis preparedness strategy.

Photo: Lauri Heikkinen, Finnish Prime Minister's Office

The security landscape in Europe has changed dramatically. This has resulted in us becoming more aware of security and our vulnerabilities, dependencies and risks. In order to avoid the effects and disruptions to our societies Europe must be prepared. Strengthening our security must therefore be one of the top priorities of the European Union’s next Strategic Agenda.

Crisis preparedness is one of the cornerstones of security. As the number of increasingly complex, cross-border and cross-sectoral crises is increasing, the EU and its member states must be prepared.

Finland has a long tradition in comprehensive security(Link to another website.). Our concept provides the foundation for ensuring the resilience of the Finnish society under all circumstances. While we acknowledge that our model is not directly applicable on the EU level, it provides experiences we think would be in all our interest; a horizontal approach, common goals, involvement of the private and third sectors and participation of citizens. And our greatest strength: society's broad awareness of preparedness.

This is why Finland has proposed for the EU to improve the level of preparedness of all Member States and the EU as a whole, by suggesting that the EU develop a preparedness strategy.

Preparedness Union - harnessing the whole of society approach at EU level

Following the October 2023 European Council Conclusions, where the EUCO underlined the importance of a comprehensive and coordinated approach to the preparedness and crisis response of the European Union ensuring that all sectors contribute to an all-hazards approach, Finland has suggested that the Council should invite the next Commission to present a Preparedness Union Strategy. This request could be expressed in more detail in the form of Council conclusions during the Belgian Presidency of the Council.

The main goal of the Preparedness Union would be to ensure that the EU and its Member States are better prepared for increasingly complex, cross-border and multi-faceted crises that often occur simultaneously.The Preparedness Union should be based on a comprehensive whole-of-society approach, where the needs as well as contributions of all policy sectors are taken into account.

The Preparedness Union Strategy would offer tools and a framework to map out the needs of each sector in order to form a coherent preparedness policy. The strategy would acknowledge the national competencies while identifying common policy objectives as well as defining the areas where the EU should further develop joint capacities.

The division of work between Member States, the Council and the Commission would be further clarified. The Strategy would take into account the increasingly important role of the private and third sector actors as well as the citizens themselves as an integral part of societal resilience.

The Preparedness Union would seek to define policy objectives and recommendations in different sectors in the field of preparedness. These would be based on regular assessments for which there would be a jointly agreed evaluation framework and peer review mechanisms. The Commission would be a crucial contributor and facilitator of the assessments whereas the Council would define the policy objectives and recommendations together with the Commission.

In areas where the competencies allow, EU legislation should be developed. However, the core of the Preparedness Union would be increasing cooperation, peer-learning and coordination, with the aim of improving the level of preparedness of all Member States and the EU as a whole.

More information:

The initiative is coordinated by the EU Secretariat of the Prime Minister’s Office(Link to another website.)

Learn more about Finland’s own comprehensive security model: Comprehensive security – Turvallisuuskomitea(Link to another website.)