Finland acceded to the European Union in 1995. Finland promotes the development of the European Union as a financial, political and security organisation. The goal is to strengthen Finland’s security and prosperity.
The roots of the European Union go back to economic and political cooperation between European countries in the early 1950s. Over the decades, the expanding cooperation has led to the European Union of 28 Member States and over half a billion people. The EU Member States are committed to promoting peace, shared values and prosperity.
The Member States are bound by the Lisbon Treaty, which has the aim of simplifying, clarifying and streamlining the Union’s decision-making. The Treaty strengthens the Union’s principle of the conferral of competences: any competence that has not been conferred upon the Union in the Treaties remains with the Member States.
As a member of the European Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), Finland uses the single currency, the euro.
Finland is also party to the Schengen Agreement that has eliminated border controls between Finland and other Schengen countries.
The main responsibility for the monitoring and preparation of EU affairs and for the definition of Finland’s EU positions is vested in the Prime Minister’s Office and the Ministries. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs is responsible for the preparation of EU affairs in Finland and for the definition of Finland’s positions on topics pertaining to the Union’s external relations, enlargement and EU law issues. Together with the Prime Minister’s Office, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs prepares issues concerning the EU’s development. Each ministry is responsible for the preparation of EU affairs in its own field and participates in the related decision-making in the Union’s institutions.
The Finnish Parliament plays a strong role in EU decision-making when compared to many other Member States. Parliament participates in the national preparation of EU affairs and has the right to receive information on international affairs. By virtue of the Finnish Constitution, the Government must give Parliament information on the preparation of issues in the EU. The Government must also consult Parliament on proposals discussed in the Union and must justify the Government’s policy in EU affairs.
As a Member State of the Union, Finland participates fully in EU decision-making. The Prime Minister represents Finland in the meetings of the European Council (EU summit meetings). The Prime Minister may be assisted by a Government Minister responsible for a certain administrative sector, if the issues discussed at the meeting require special expertise. The President of the Republic may represent Finland at summit meetings between the EU and third countries.
Finland has held the rotating Presidency of the European Union twice: in 1999 and 2006. Finland’s next Presidency is scheduled for 2020.
In Finland, communication on EU affairs is led by the Prime Minister’s Office. The European Commission and the European Parliament have their own offices in Helsinki. The Foreign Ministry’s Europe Information produces and disseminates information for citizens on European integration and Finland’s role in the EU. Europe Information also serves as a distribution channel for general material on EU affairs. Finland’s Permanent Representation to the EU is responsible for Finnish EU communications in Brussels.
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