EU leaders discussed future EU priorities in Sibiu

The informal meeting of the European Council held in Romania on Europe Day, 9 May, focused on the future of Europe. The EU heads of state or government discussed, for the first time, the priority areas for the European Union for the next five years. The EU leaders also adopted the Sibiu Declaration that emphasises the significance of strengthening the EU’s unity in the unstable and challenging world.

The EU’s next Strategic Agenda for the period 2019–2024 is scheduled to be adopted at the European Council in June, right before Finland assumes the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. Finland will thus be the first Presidency to start implementing the new strategy. Finland has actively contributed to preparing the Strategic Agenda already for a longer time.

“The discussions conducted today show that we have managed to include matters important for Finland in the Agenda. We have stressed the importance of effective measures for increasing sustainable growth and security and for mitigating climate change,” Prime Minister Juha Sipilä said.

Finland considers that the Strategic Agenda should highlight the strengthening of the single market as the key measure for promoting growth and employment. In particular, attention should be paid to digital economy and services economy. Promotion of international trade is also of key importance.

“Another issue that is highly important for Finland is ensuring citizens’ security. We must enhance defence cooperation within the EU and be able to better respond to threats to comprehensive security. We must also further develop our preparedness to counter hybrid threats,” Prime Minister Sipilä said.

“Furthermore, the EU should show global leadership in climate change mitigation and strive to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees. For the EU’s part, this means reaching net-zero emissions by 2050,” Prime Minister Sipilä continued.

Finland also emphasises the importance of respect for European values such as the rule of law.

To conclude the meeting, the chair of the meeting, European Council President Donald Tusk, talked about the process to be launched after the European Parliament elections in preparation for the appointment of persons to leading positions in the EU institutions.