Government Communications Department
(Translation. Originally published in Finnish on 27 June 2014)On Friday 27 June, the European Council outlined its priorities for the forthcoming years in Brussels. In Finland's view, competitiveness which bolsters growth and jobs must be the EU's top priority. Therefore, it will be necessary to open up markets more effectively and more widely, and to ensure the achievement of the four basic freedoms and active trade policies.
Structural changes are the most important measures to be implemented in the member states."The discussions we just had about structural changes in relation to the Stability and Growth Pact were highly important. We must ensure, however, that by focusing on structural changes we do not weaken the credibility of public finances in Europe. The Stability and Growth Pact must not be watered down", said Prime Minister Alexander Stubb in Brussels.
The European Council that convened in Brussels on Friday also set a deadline for the stabilisation of the situation in Ukraine.The EU requires that an agreement on a system that secures the border between Ukraine and Russia is to be established by Monday 30 June. In addition, Ukrainian authorities must be able to return to border checkpoints, all hostages must be released, and the negotiations to implement the peace plan of Ukraine's President Poroshenko must be initiated.
"The European Council will estimate how the situation develops in Ukraine and, when necessary, it is prepared to make new decisions. If the situation in Eastern Ukraine does not improve we consider it very important that the EU member states be able to make joint and, if necessary, prompt decisions", said Prime Minister Stubb.At the end of the summit, the EU leaders voted on the new European Commission President. The European Council’s candidate for the post is Luxembourgian Jean-Claude Juncker.
"Juncker has played an active role in building Europe since the 1980s and he has demonstrated his competences as the right person to lead the Commission. It is now important to complete the composition of the European Commission and start focusing on the real issue: how to implement the measures that have been agreed on", concluded Prime Minister Stubb.
Lauri Tierala, Special Adviser (EU Affairs), tel. +358 40 841 7141 and Kare Halonen, State Secretary, EU Affairs, tel. +358 295 160 315, Prime Minister’s Office