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Unified EU must to cope with challenges: PM

Published : 08 Nov 2018, 03:06

Updated : 08 Nov 2018, 10:58

  DF Report

Prime Minister Juha Sipilä met President of the European Council Donald Tusk in Helsinki on Wednesday. Photo Finnish government by Laura Kotila.

Prime Minister Juha Sipilä on Wednesday said unified EU is the only way to respond to the great challenges of the coming years, such as climate change and migration, said an official press release.

The prime minister made the remarks at a meeting in Helsinki with EU leaders and heads of government of five EU Member States.

Sipilä said, “This was an excellent opportunity to strengthen Finland’s position and readiness ahead of Finland’s third EU presidency term, which will begin in July. By strengthening bilateral relationships with the different countries and establishing a unified picture of the situation in the EU, we can create a good foundation for a well-functioning and effective presidency term. It is also clear that a strong, unified EU is the only way we can respond to the great challenges of the coming years, such as climate change and migration.”

With the Wednesday’s talks, Sipilä continued his series of meetings in preparation for Finland’s EU presidency, highlighting questions related to the presidency in the discussions.

Sipilä will meet with the heads of all EU Member States before the start of Finland’s EU presidency term.

The prime minister held the discussions at his official residence known as Kesäranta with Federal Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz of Austria, which currently holds the EU presidency, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, as well as with European Council President Donald Tusk and EU Commissioner in charge of Brexit negotiations Michael Barnier.

The prime minister on Thursday will meet for discussions with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov.

In addition to Finland’s EU presidency, the discussions focused on many topical themes related to the EU, such as developing the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), defence cooperation and hybrid threats, climate issues, Brexit, internal markets, international trade, the EU’s Multiannual Financial Framework negotiations, and migration.