Finland has taken on the Presidency of the Council of the European Union as of 1 July, only one week after the European Council agreed on the EU’s new strategic priorities. Finland is therefore the first presidency to integrate the new strategic agenda, adopted on 20 June 2019, into the work of the Council.
All in all, we can expect the coming six months to be highly interesting and significant for the future of the European Union. There are important issues, such as the multi-annual financial framework, brexit, migration and development of the rule of law that are on the table now that Finland takes on the presidency.
It’s a beginning of a new legislative cycle as the new European Parliament, European Commission and the Presidency of the Council of the European Union assume their functions, and as a result there is less legislative work than normally. As the President of the Council of the European Union, Finland wants to take the opportunity to conduct deeper dialogue among the member states about what the EU should focus on in different sectors during the next five years.
As to transport and communications, we will bring four themes into focus: digital transport services, transport automation, carbon-free transport and data economy. These themes are central in developing transport and communications policy for the future and in ensuring sustainable growth.
Data economy, digital transport services and transport automation offer opportunities for creating more efficient, safer and more comprehensive transport and communications services and for providing sustainable growth in the EU. To achieve the climate objectives of the Paris Agreement we need rapid emission reductions in the transport sector.
The four themes are closely interconnected especially when digital transport services and automation are largely based on the more effective use of data. With the help of new technologies we can also ensure significant emission reductions in the transport sector.
We have chosen the motto “Smart connections for sustainable growth” for our presidency in the transport and communications sector. This reflects not only the close connection of transport and communications services in the digital age but also the future needs in developing networks. The EU’s transport and communications policy should be smart and sustainable.
During presidency, we are committed to continuing the work on the pending legislative proposals. We want to promote public debate on the future transport and communications policy among the EU Member States, EU Commission, EU Parliament and different stakeholders. The EU Transport and Telecommunications Council will meet on 2 to 3 December 2019 and Transport Council will meet on 20 September 2019. In the September meeting, the Transport Council will discuss the measures to reach the climate objectives in the transport sector.
We will organise stakeholder events together with the Commission: Digital Transport Days and a high-level conference on the future of Single European Sky as well as a Data Economy Conference focusing on human-centric data economy with a competitive edge.
We want to invite participants in various events to discuss strategic issues in transport and communications policy. The themes of the future require adoption of a comprehensive approach, cooperation and commitment to common goals. The Europeans expect that the EU will offer solutions that improve the daily life and well-being in Europe. We will play an active role to ensure that the presidency will bring us closer to such solutions.
Minister of Transport and Communications