ZAGREB, July 8 – One of the priorities of Finland’s presidency over the Council of the EU will be to position the EU as the global leader in the fight against climate change, Finnish Ambassador to Croatia Risto Piipponen said.
“We have heard alot of debate on climate change and what needs to be done. We wish to serve as an example to others, so we set ambitious goals for the fight against climate change until 2035,” he said, adding that the fight against climate change must be integrated into all European Union policies.
Piipponen gave a talk at Europe House in Zagreb on the priorities and goals of Finland’s EU presidency, saying that aside from climate change, switching to a sustainable economy was also important to Finns.
We must work on achieving a transition towards a bioeconomy and switching to a circular economy, whereby we would increase Europe’s competitiveness, modernise the economy and employ our citizens, said the ambassador.
The European economy is not in bad shape, but youth unemployment is still a serious problem in many member states, he said, noting that the key to resolving the problem is in developing the service and industrial sectors as well as in investing in innovation and technology such as artificial intelligence, which would increase productivity and reduce unemployment.
Another priority of Finland’s EU presidency is enlargement to the Western Balkans which has great strategic value for the EU, Piipponen said.
But enlargement is not a shortcut and the countries which want to begin negotiations must meet the requirements, which include respecting the EU’s values, he added.
During its presidency, Finland will try to implement the Council of the EU conclusions concerning the launch of negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia.
Commenting on the migrant situation in the Mediterranean, Piipponen said, “The situation in the Mediterranean is inhumane and unbearable. We must find solutions, and one of those is the temporary relocation of migrants rescued at sea”, he added.
The ambassador pointed out that migration is not only a problem fo0r host countries, it also a problem for migrants themselves. We must remember that, as member states, we must respect human rights, international laws and conventions.
During the first six months of 2020, the EU will be chaired by Croatia.