On 26 September, Matias Kallio, adviser to Elsi Katainen MEP (Keskusta, Finland), was invited to discuss the Finnish EU Presidency, which is halfway through its six-month term.
During its Presidency, Finland proclaims several priorities: fully protecting citizens’ security, strengthening common values and the rule of law, the EU's competitiveness and social integration, as well as its position as the world's leading state actor in climate.
The ambitious programme came despite a politically challenging spring in Finland, as parliamentary elections were held in April and a new government was established – giving just two months to prepare. Matias Kallio said: “That is why the programme for the Presidency was prepared by all the parties, and it hasn’t been challenged much internally.”
Kallio also said: “The Presidency also started when the new European Parliament was established, with 60% of the MEPs being new and the power balance changed enormously.”
Participants also discussed a number of internal and external challenges that the European Union is facing, and which need to be tackled together in a constructive manner in order to pursue the goals of the Presidency. Apart from the continuing developments around Brexit, these include the need for a balanced multiannual financial framework, a common view on migration policy and a reform of the Economic and Monetary Union taking into account every member state's own responsibility of sound economic policies.
The Liberal Breakfast is a joint event by Friedrich Naumann Foundation Europe and the ALDE Party. This edition was moderated by Daniela Morales García of the ALDE Party secretariat.