A Transition Presidency ? Finland’s Presidency of the EU

An inside view of Finland’s second Presidency of the EU, July-December 2006.

Finland will be in charge of the EU Presidency for the second time in 2006. The Finnish EU policy manifests a combination of elite commitment and people’s indifference. The security policy reasons which originally figured strongly behind EU membership still balance the consequences of public opinion. Unlike the other Nordic EU members, Finland lacks powerful EU critical parties. All major Finnish parties are in favour of Finland’s EU membership whereas the Finnish EU critical parties are in a marginal position.

The second EU Presidency contains a demanding agenda with the constitutional treaty, EU enlargement, the future of the ASEM dialogue and the EU-Russia relations among its major challenges. The Finnish government emphasises also the implementation of the Lisbon strategy and progress in the framework of the Hague programme. Also the EU’s crisis management capacity, whose constitutive decisions were taken during the previous Finnish Presidency, is back on the Presidency agenda as important steps will be taken both concerning the civilian and military capabilities.