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#S&Ds – ‘The EU is at a crossroads’




The Finnish presidency will contribute to creating a more sustainable Europe for a sustainable future. Finland’s presidency kicks off during a decisive moment for the history of the European Union. In this transition period for the EU institutions, it is important that the cornerstones of European integration – peace, security, stability, democracy and prosperity – are protected against the rise of nationalist forces, and strengthened to face challenges including climate change, migration and economic and social crises.

The S&D Group is certain that thanks to the full commitment of the government run by Prime Minister Antti Rinne, SDP, the Finnish presidency will be able to strengthen our common values and the rule of law. As a global leader in the climate change fight, we are also happy to see that the Finnish presidency is fully committed to meet the climate-neutral Europe target by 2050. Lastly, as outlined by the Finnish Prime Minister, we look forward to seeing some concrete steps to improve competitiveness and social inclusiveness, by taking full advantage of research, development, innovation and digitalisation on the one hand and by fostering skills, education and training on the other. We need a sustainable Europe for a sustainable future.

S&D Group President Iratxe García said: “The goals of the Finnish presidency are totally in line with the road map that our group wants to put forward in the next legislature, putting sustainability at its core. As we made clear to the next Commission president, our group wants to include the UN Sustainable Development Goals as criteria to measure member states’ performance in the European Semester. Economic, social and environmental considerations should be equally taken into consideration.
“We hope that the new Commission will be in place and working as soon as possible, so that we can finalise the negotiations for the next budget for the 2021-2027 period. We need sufficient resources to implement the transformation.”

The head of the Finnish delegation and treasurer of the group, Eero Heinäluoma, added: “I would like to congratulate Prime Minister Antti Rinne for presenting an ambitious and forward-looking presidency programme. The priorities are progressive and pro-European, and address the important challenges of our time, such as climate change. 
“I welcome the Finnish presidency’s leadership on sustainability and the circular economy, and the emphasis on strengthening the fundamental rule of law principle, including in the budget and the MFF. However, I would have hoped for more ambition in addressing tax avoidance by large multinational corporations. The Council needs to move forward on fair taxation so that large corporations pay their fair share of taxes and contribute to the welfare and prosperity of our societies.”

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