|Sauli Niinistö (National Coalition Party, since 2012)
Antti Rinne (Social Democrats, since June 2019)
|Size||4338,424 km2 (130,596 sq mi)|
|MEPs||13 (Joined the EU in 1995)|
|Next presidential election
Next legislative election
|Presidency of the Council||July – December 2019|
|Last meeting with Boris Johnson||None held to date|
|Brexit priorities||Finland and the UK have been traditional partners in the EU, both on a political and economic level. They often saw eye to eye in EU decision-making and the two countries are important trading partners as well.
Not only does Finland fear a short term economic set back due to Brexit, but the government also fears that in the long term the EU-27 will fail to find common ground on the challenges ahead. This would further destabilise the euro and therefore pose a risk to the Finnish economy. The government wants security to be discussed in the Brexit negotiations as it supports a common defence policy in the EU and the UK is the biggest spending military force.
Finland has emphasised that the UK cannot have the same benefits of EU membership when it leaves the bloc. Throughout the negotiations, the overall priority will be to find unity among the remaining 27 Member States.
|What Mr Rinne said on Brexit||“We are not going to open this agreement we negotiated between Britain and European Union,”
“The situation in Britain is quite a mess now, we don’t know what is happening there. It seems pretty obvious now that we are not getting Brexit with agreement,”
|Finland’s priorities||On 14 April 2019, former Prime Minister Juha Sipilä’s Center Party finished fourth in the Parliamentary elections. The Social Democrats won a narrow victory securing 17.7% of the votes. Finishing in second place was the far-right Finns Party with 17.5%. The center-right National Coalition Party (NCP) — the Center Party’s junior government partner — finished in third place with 17 percent support.
Social Democrat party leader Antti Rinne excluded the Finns Party from coalition talks and reached an agreement with four other parties, including outgoing Prime Minister Juha Sipila’s Centre Party, the Greens, the Left Alliance and the Swedish People’s Party.
The coalition agreement includes 730 million euros in tax increases to fulfill a campaign promise to maintain spending on public services. The tax on fossil fuels will also be increased. The government has also planned a one-off infrastructure investment, notably to Finland’s railway network.
In terms of security, Finland stands between increasingly active Russia and NATO, of which it is not a member. The government’s aim is to find a well-balanced position between the two.
Finland has also seen euroscepticism rise, however the Brexit vote seems to have tempered that now slightly. A petition for a “fixit” got 34,000 signatures in December 2016. The required number was 50,000 for it to be discussed in Parliament.
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