Finnish Government sets out its policy priorities for the EU over the next six months
by Owain Richards on 02 Jul 2019
As Finland assumed the six-month rotating Presidency of the Council of the European Union on 1 July 2019, the high-level work programme [PDF download] published last week outlines its approach to a wide range of key issues including economic, social and environmental sustainability, the digital economy and digital taxation, and the Single Market. As explored in our initial analysis of the implications of the Finnish Council Presidency for the tech sector, these perspectives will form the basis of its policy approach in the coming months and provide the digital sector with an opportunity to engage with a Member State at the forefront of the digital economy.
Sustainability at the centre of the policy programme
In line with its theme, ‘Sustainable Europe – Sustainable Future’, multi-sectoral sustainability is addressed at all levels, particularly in relation to supporting the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (the Sustainable Development Goals).
Recognising the tech sector’s impact across the economy
In regard to the tech and digital sector, the programme outlines Finland’s high-level approach to policy issues including the digital and platform economies, Artificial Intelligence (AI), digital taxation and the data economy. These issues are not siloed and instead are approached holistically and horizontally, emphasising the opportunities offered by the digital economy and tech in sectors including health, education and manufacturing.
Aiming to make Europe the global leader on the digital economy
In policy, Finland clearly supports a more proactive regulatory environment to support growth, job creation and competitiveness. Its aim is to make Europe the “global leader of the digital economy” through promoting areas such as the single market for services, investment in research and innovation, and the availability and interoperability of data.
On digital taxation the work programme sets out Finnish support for OECD-level work to “prevent harmful tax competition and tax evasion” rather than a resurrection of an EU digital services tax. On transport tech, Finland’s work will focus on developing Mobility as a Service (MaaS).
Engaging with the Presidency
Although a largely administrative position, the rotating Council Presidency will allow Finland to play a leading role in influencing the policy agenda in the coming months through planning and chairing meetings, representing the Council in EU inter-institutional relations, and acting as an ‘honest and neutral broker’ between Member State governments.
Finland will host events in Helsinki on areas ranging from the circular economy and climate change to digital government and the data economy, providing both public and private stakeholders with an opportunity to interact on key issues in the coming months. Finland’s Council Presidency provides a great opportunity for tech and digital firms to positively engage with a Member State that has outlined a clear commitment to supporting the sustainable, competitive growth of the sector.
If you would like to discuss how your company can make the most of the opportunities offered by the Finnish Council Presidency then please get in touch.
Written by Owain Richards
With a background in political and economic analysis, Owain joined Inline Policy in 2019. He provides political analysis and monitoring for the sharing economy, online platforms and emerging technology clients from Inline Policy’s Brussels office. He has a particular interest in the short-term accommodation market and writes a weekly newsletter covering the sector.