Summary of Finland's position on EU treaty reform

If you're at all interested in Finland's approach to the EU and can read Finnish, you should probably go ahead and check out the government memorandum (fi, PDF) I mentioned in Friday's post. It's only seven pages long and contains lots of stuff that isn't discussed e.g. in the Helsingin Sanomat article. But if you can't read Finnish - I've heard that such people exist - you've come to the right place for an English language summary.


Finland supports calling together an intergovernmental conference, to be given its mission in June's European Council summit. As little as possible from the Constitutional Treaty should be opened for new negotiations. All the reforms in the Constitutional Treaty that aren't included the intergovernmental conference's mandate should be considered as agreed upon parts of the new treaty. All the areas in which the existing treaties need reform should be decided at one go. To put it more plainly, in June's meeting everyone should agree on which bits of the Constitutional Treaty can be kept as they are and then a new intergovernmental conference will be set loose to sort out the rest.

Finland thinks a single unified constitutional treaty would be clearer than a solution based on changing current treaties, but is willing to see the reforms implemented on the basis of current treaties if that's necessary. This shouldn't however affect the content of the reforms. Regardless of how the reforms are structured, the EU must be given a legal personality and its three pillar structure must be torn down. The government sees the destruction of the third pillar, concerning police and judicial cooperation, as particularly beneficial.

The central contents of part I of the Constitutional Treaty must be preserved. Especially the institutional provisions shouldn't be opened for renegotiation, because agreeing on them was so difficult the last time around. On part II, it's particularly important that the EU joins the European Convention on Human Rights. The primary solution should be to implement the changes contained in the Constitutional Treaty as they are, but Finland can also accept a cross reference that has the same legal value as ratifying the Charter of Fundamental Rights. Reforms contained in part III should be included in the new treaty. Of particular importance are widening the scope of qualified majority decision-making and, again, removing the pillar structure. The proposed reforms on judicial, internal, and foreign affairs should be preserved in their entirety.

Finland considers additions on topics like climate change, energy, immigration, and the social dimension of the EU to be unnecessary for the effective functioning of the Union. The government is however willing to consider clarifications that are political in nature, as long as they don't involve changing the division of powers between the Union and member states and no agreed upon questions are reopened. The Union's ability to accept new members shouldn't be defined as an enlargement criterion and it's a bad idea to include in the new treaty the political criteria agreed in 1993 in Copenhagen. Finland thinks that it's unnecessary to change the Constitutional Treaty's edicts on the enforcement of subsidiarity. National parliaments shouldn't have the right to cancel the Commission's proposals.

Finland is flexible about symbolic changes, such as changing the name of the treaty and removing the Union's symbols. Changes in terminology can be considered, but the government considers the Constitutional Treaty's new names for different types of statutes to be easier to understand than the current ones.

So now you know.

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