New Pact for Europe - National Report - FINLAND
This is the third in a series of National Reports to be published as part of the new phase of the New Pact for Europe project. Since becoming a member of the EU in 1995, Finland has been one of the EU's most constructive member states. But with the rapid emergence of an openly populist and Eurosceptic party in the 2010s (coinciding with the financial and economic crisis in the EU) Finland's image has somewhat changed: it is now often seen as a hardliner and, at times, a difficult member state. Despite these developments, the Finns still sees the Union as a vehicle for security, prosperity and influence. Drawing on the discussions held amongst the members of the group, the present report presents a set of conclusions on how Finland sees the future of the European project and on how current challenges might be overcome:
- The EU should acknowledge the negative effects of globalisation and the increasing global competition within the economy and politics, and articulate a convincing political message at the EU and national levels, providing straightforward answers to the questions and concerns raised by EU citizens.
- A major overhaul of EU structures is not seen as necessary at present. Instead of institutional reforms, pragmatic and effective action are called for. Enhanced cooperation and multispeed integration could be a way forward, but their implications for the coherence and unity of the EU should be carefully considered.
- To address the changing world of security and foreign affairs, Finland strongly advocates the strengthening of the EU's defence dimension.
- The EU's social dimension needs a serious boost. This should be the result of a European-wide political discussion followed by EU-level action aimed at (re-)establishing European social norms.
- Finally, the EU should continue to develop its single markets and, in so doing, become a global frontrunner in the digital revolution. Given the expectations of citizens and member states, adequate resources to address these issues must be secured at the EU level.