The European Council that convened in Brussels on 24-25 October raised, on Finland's initiative, cleantech and bio-based economy as examples of future innovation policy areas. Innovation was one of the themes discussed on Thursday as part of the debate on competitiveness in which the EU Heads of State or Government provided concrete guidelines on tools to be used to promote competitiveness and economic growth.
The European Council placed the Digital Single Market in a central role in efforts to ensure Europe's success in the global markets in future. Finland considered it important that the fast moving digital sphere be taken into account in legislation. The Heads of State or Government agreed with what Finland proposed on the necessity to create a common European framework without spelling out all the details - "less is more".
The EU leaders also held a discussion on the publicly suspected incidents of espionage. Discussions with the United States will be initiated by Germany and France to create common rules. In Prime Minister Katainen's view, it would be useful for Finland to participate in the debate.
Better regulation was also on the European Council agenda. This theme was addressed on Friday at a separate meeting in which the representatives of the European Commission, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden and the United Kingdom were briefed on how the business sector is affected by the EU's legislative measures.
In Finland's view, it is important to draft EU legislation that supports competitiveness and job creation while avoiding unnecessary administrative burden for companies and employers. The European Council urged the Commission to rapidly implement measures aiming at the simplification of existing EU law, withdrawing proposals that are no longer needed and repealing legislation that is out of date.
On Friday, the Heads of State or Government focused also on migration flows in Europe. The meeting underlined the relevance of comprehensive actions in order to better tackle the reasons for immigration. Finland pointed out the importance of cooperation between the EU and the African Union. In the December meeting, the European Council is to receive a report from the Task Force established to identify priority actions.
Inquiries: Pasi Rajala, Special Adviser to the Prime Minister, EU Affairs, tel. +358 295 160 259 or +358 400 464 393 and Kare Halonen, State Secretary, EU Affairs, tel. +358 295 160 319, Prime Minister's Office.