Finnish Presidency will continue to work on enlargement perspective for the Western Balkans

PM Antti Rinne presenting Finland’s Presidency Programme; Photo: Flickr / FinnishGovernment

HELSINKI – Finland will take forward the work on a credible enlargement perspective for the Western Balkans, which is a region of high strategic values for the EU, states Finland’s Presidency Programme “Sustainable Europe – Sustainable Future”, which was published this week in Helsinki.

For Finland, enlargement policy is a strategic investment in peace, stability and development in Europe. Committing to core European values is essential for all partners aspiring to gain EU membership, the Programme reads.

The policy is covered by a single paragraph of a 17-page document.

During this week’s with Jadranka Joksimovic, Minister for European integration of Serbia, Finnish Ambassador to the country Kimmo Lähdevirta, also stressed that Finland will continue to support the process of European integration of Serbia and EU Enlargement policy.

“Finland advocates an individual approach to candidate countries – based exclusively on a fair assessment of progress in meeting the known criteria”, Lähdevirta said.

According to Finnish Presidency Programme, the priorities for Finland’s Presidency are to strengthen common values and the rule of law, to make the EU more competitive and socially inclusive, to strengthen the EU’s position as a global leader in climate action and to protect the security of citizens comprehensively.

Finland’s Presidency will be the first one to integrate the new priorities of the Strategic Agenda 2019-2024 into the Council’s work. The Strategic Agenda is intended to guide the work of the Institutions in the next five years.

It focuses on four main priorities: protecting citizens and freedoms, developing a strong and vibrant economic base, building a climate-neutral, green, fair and social Europe, promoting European interests and values on the global stage.