Publications 2017

New Pact for Europe - National Report - FINLAND

24 May 2017


This is the third in a series of National Reports to be published as part of the new phase of the New Pact for Europe project.* Since becoming a member of the EU in 1995, Finland has been of the EU’s more constructive member states. But with the rapid emergence of an openly populist and Eurosceptic party in the 2010s (coinciding with the financial and economic crisis in the EU) Finland’s image has somewhat changed: it is now often seen as a hardliner and, at times, a difficult member state. Despite these developments, the Finns still sees the Union as a vehicle for security, prosperity and influence. Drawing on the discussions held amongst the members of the group, the report presents a set of conclusions on how Finland sees the future of the European project and on how current challenges might be overcome:

  • The EU should acknowledge the negative effects of globalisation and the increasing global competition within the economy and politics, and articulate a convincing political message at the EU and national levels, providing straightforward answers to the questions and concerns raised by EU citizens.
  • A major overhaul of EU structures is not seen as necessary at present. Instead of institutional reforms, pragmatic and effective action are called for. Enhanced cooperation and multispeed integration could be a way forward, but their implications for the coherence and unity of the EU should be carefully considered.
  • To address the changing world of security and foreign affairs, Finland strongly advocates the strengthening of the EU’s defence dimension.
  • The EU’s social dimension needs a serious boost. This should be the result of a European-wide political discussion followed by EU-level action aimed at (re-)establishing European social norms.
  • Finally, the EU should continue to develop its single markets and, in so doing, become a global frontrunner in the digital revolution. Given the expectations of citizens and member states, adequate resources to address these issues must be secured at the EU level.

*After a first successful period in 2013-2015, which included more than 80 events in 17 EU countries and the publication of two major reports, which elaborated five strategic options on the future of the EU, the New Pact for Europe project entered a new phase in 2016-2017. The ultimate aim of this new phase of the NPE project is to work out the details of a wider ‘package deal’ to equip the EU with the tools it needs to meet the internal and external challenges it faces. This proposal will contain solutions generated by connecting the discussions on the key policy challenges, and propose changes in the way the EU and its policies are defined to avoid future fundamental crises.

National Reflection Groups have been created and met specifically for this purpose in ten EU countries (Belgium, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Poland, Portugal and Slovakia), followed by transnational exchanges between these groups. This national report is the result of the work and discussions of one of these National Reflection Groups.

For more information on the NPE project, please see the project website: www.newpactforeurope.eu

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