Finnish Presidency of the EU Council: priorities and issues for research and innovation

On 1 July 2019, Finland took over the Presidency of the European Union. In a tense institutional context, the Finnish Presidency has set 4 key societal priorities for the European Union, including fighting climate change.

Four main priorities… and many challenges

Since July 1st, Finland is the new President of the Council of the European Union for a 6-month period and for the 3rd time. The country takes over after Romania (and before Croatia) within the current rotating Presidency trio.

This new presidency takes place within a quite tense context, inter alia: the renewal of the European Institutions’ leaders (Parliament, Commission…), the perspective of Brexit in October and the negotiations and vote for the multiannual budget.

Nevertheless, Finland’s Presidency will be driven by its motto “Sustainable Europe – Sustainable Future”. In particular, it will focus on ecology and climate action, as well as factors of European integration. Its programme is based on 4 key priorities:

  • strengthen common values and the rule of law,
  • make the EU more competitive and socially inclusive,
  • strengthen the EU’s position as a global leader in climate action,
  • protect the security of citizens comprehensively.

Highlights on research and innovation

The Finnish Presidency truly conceives EU R&I initiatives, such as Horizon 2020, as a key tool for sustainable growth and the fight against climate change. For example, one of Finland’s goals is to identify concrete elements to implement the EU’s 2050 long-term climate strategy.

Also, the Finnish Presidency hopes to reach an agreement on the next multiannual financial framework by December 2021, on which greatly depends the adoption of Horizon Europe. Moreover, Finland promises to maintain the same ambition for Horizon Europe as an innovation driver for climate action, digital technologies and social inclusion. Also on the to-do list: progressing toward the adoption of the 2021-2027 strategy of the European Institute of Innovation & Technology (EIT).

R&I events under the Finnish Presidency

Several events of Finland’s Presidency related to research and innovation will be organised in Helsinki or Brussels. Save the date (non-exhaustive list):