Competitiveness on the agenda as EU politicians meet in Helsinki

The meeting is co-chaired by Katri Kulmuni and Timo Harakka and attended by ministers from around Europe.

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File picture from EU competitiveness ministers meeting in Helsinki, 4th July 2019 / Credit: VNK

Finlandia Hall takes centre stage on Thursday and Friday as Finland hosts the first major ministerial meetings of its six-month EU Presidency.

The EU ministers responsible for competitiveness will be discussing sustainable groth, digital transformation, international competition and climate change – and new ways of achieving economically, socially and ecologically sustainable growth, according to the Finnish Presidency website.

“Europe is facing quite big challenges if one considers climate change or fierce global competition or technological changes” says Minister of Economic Affairs Katri Kulmuni (Centre).

“Sustainability, in particular the mitigation of climate change, is becoming a central driver for global competitiveness and the wellbeing of citizens. Research and innovation have a key role as enablers and drivers for accelerating the necessary transitions” Kulmuni told delegates at Thursday morning’s opening session.

Minister for Labour Timo Harakka (SDP) is co-chairing the EU meetings this week, and says that he thinks the EU needs is “a comprehensive and future-oriented growth agenda” to become the most competitive, socially inclusive and carbon neutral economy in the world.

EU Commissioners also visiting Finland 

The outgoing President of the European Commission and national Commissioners are also in Helsinki at the start of Finland’s EU Presidency.

On Friday morning they’ll meet members of the government, after an official dinner hosted by PM Antti Rinne (SDP) at Kesäranta on Thursday evening; and lunch with President Sauli Niinistö at the Presidential Palace on Friday.

Helsinki Police have warned about traffic disruption and road closures in the capital area during the next 36 hours with the high number of motorcades and security measures during the various visits.