Finnish EU Presidency
The Presidency of the Council of the EU is shared among the national governments of the Member States, transferring from one Member State to another every six months, on 1 January and 1 July each year. The office of the Presidency comes with significant responsibility: the host Member State chairs meetings of the Council of the EU, one of the EU’s major decision-making bodies, during its term. In addition, the Presidency is responsible for ensuring that Member States work in harmony, negotiating compromises when necessary, and at all times acting in the interest of the EU as a whole.
The Presidency’s programme of work is shared by three Member States (the ‘Presidency trio’) over an 18-month period. The Presidency sets out detailed goals that it wants to achieve during its period of office and, with the other Presidency trio members, longer-term objectives that could not realistically be achieved in only six months.
On 1 July 2019, Finland takes up the Presidency of the Council of the EU. It is the second of the current trio, working with Romania and Croatia to achieve the goals set out in their joint programme.
Addressing a competitive and socially inclusive EU is one of the priorities for the Presidency. Europe must address the challenges of its ageing population and global competition with sustainable measures to boost productivity and competitiveness. At the same time, a coherent approach to further develop the European Pillar of Social Rights must be adopted to deliver visible results to citizens.
Furthermore, the EU needs a future-oriented, wide-ranging strategy for continuous learning that takes into account the transformation of work and digitalisation. Another key measure for maximising the availability of skilled workers is to increase the labour market participation of women. The EU and Member States should continue actions to promote gender equality in working life, reconciliation of work and family life, and equal pay. There is also a need to promote longer working careers in Europe through improvements in occupational health and safety, public health policies and part-time work schemes.
The Finnish Presidency has declared its support for the Roadmap on Carcinogens, a scheme, co-founded by EU-OSHA, which raises awareness of the risks posed by exposure to carcinogens in the workplace and encourages the exchange of good practices. The Presidency hosts a conference entitled ‘Working together to eliminate work-related cancer’ on 27-28 November.