EM Finland: What now?
With the new year came the new presidency of the Council of the EU, Finland having handed over the honours to Croatia. Former EM Finland president Jouni Ovaska made a statement on the occasion.
“Finland’s EU Presidency is over. The baton will move to Croatia in January. It is time to assess how far we got during this half-year journey.
We set ambitious goals. We wanted to strengthen the rule of law and to be at the forefront of climate action. At the same time, we emphasized competitiveness and security.
We already knew when we started that it was not going to be easy. The Union has been revolutionized not only by Brexit, but also by the US-China trade war and the inactivity of the WTO. At the same time, the Commission has changed and no new legislative work has taken place in practice.
However, we have been pioneers in our goals. Croatia must follow in our footsteps. Although Poland was not yet ready to accept climate targets, we are on the road to EU carbon neutrality in 2050. Similarly, we have received broad support for our rule of law approach. By now, Member States have awakened.
I also hope for a European Finland – My presidency of EM Finland ends this year. Here too, one has to consider what was left of these years. When I started in 2016, our organization was in financial distress after the cuts under Foreign Minister Soini. However, with the CEO and the board of the organization, we were able to stay above the surface. Thanks are also due to our community members for helping us organize the finest events. It was with the power of cooperation that we organized this demand spring the Demand Facts tour, which continued under the Presidency. This nationwide tour highlighted the need for our organization.
Continental stability and economic and security development require a strong Union. We also need new members. Accession negotiations for Northern Macedonia and Albania must be opened. The internal politics of France must not determine the future of our Union. The Union is challenged by superpower politics. We can only succeed by being strong internally and externally.
All of this requires an active EU policy – EM Finland offers a great tool for this. Our organization is a community for those for whom European values and the European Union are important and worth defending.
Let’s continue to work towards our common goals. I thank everyone for their cooperation and wish them every success for 2020.”
Read the full statement here.