Swift start to Finland’s Presidency of the Council of the EU

Finland will hold the Presidency of the Council of the European Union for six months starting on 1 July. The Presidency will start at a fast pace: on 4 and 5 July, Finland will host the first informal meeting of ministers and welcome the European Commission, which is coming to meet the Finnish Government.

Six informal meetings of ministers in Finland:

Ministers of Competitiveness, 4–5 July 2019
Ministers of the Environment, 11–12 July 2019
Ministers of Justice and Home Affairs, 18–19 July 2019
Ministers of Defence and Ministers for Foreign Affairs, 28–30 August 2019
Ministers for Economic and Financial Affairs (Ecofin) and Eurogroup, 13–14 September 2019
Ministers of Agriculture, 22–24 September 2019
The schedules may be subject to change.

In addition to the informal meetings of ministers, Finland will also host close to a hundred meetings of working groups and experts. Finlandia Hall in Helsinki will be the venue for all ministerial meetings and other meetings financed from the Presidency budget.

All formal meetings of Heads of State or Government and of ministers will be held in Brussels and Luxembourg during Finland’s Presidency. These meetings will be organised based on standard practice and financed by the Council of the European Union.

A sum of EUR 70 million has been reserved for Finland’s Presidency in 2019. This covers all the costs of the Presidency, including additional personnel and meeting arrangements. In 2006, when Finland held the Presidency of the Council of the EU the previous time, the total budget was EUR 75 million.

The meeting arrangements will involve several procurement agreements. So far, we have one corporate sponsorship: BMW will supply the cars used for transporting delegations.

The Secretariat for Finland’s Presidency of the Council of the EU, working under the Prime Minister’s Office, is responsible for the practical arrangements of the meetings being held in Helsinki. It has a staff of about 20 people. In addition, drivers and assistants have been recruited for the informal meetings of ministers.