human development, social justice and sustainable social systems

Ahead of future Finnish EU Council Presidency

A Caritas Europa delegation in Helsinki

A Caritas Europa delegation met in Helsinki with representatives of the future Finnish EU Council Presidency. The group was to advocate for the continuity of the construction of a social Europe after the EP Elections take place in 2019.

Finland will hold the rotating presidency of the Council of the EU from July to December 2019, which provides a unique opportunity to promote the further construction of the European social model based on the Pillar of Social Rights. This will be in synergy with the Finnish government proposal of an “economy of wellbeing”, which focuses on the links between people’s health and economic growth.

“The Finnish government is one of the most socially committed EU members and we trust that during their presidency they will put forward steps towards the construction of the social policies that contribute to the eradication of poverty and the achievement of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals”, said Thijs Smeyers, Chair of Caritas Europa Social Inclusion Action Group.

From 10 to 12 December, the delegation held meetings with representatives of the Prime Minister’s office, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment.

“We congratulate Finland for having ratified almost all provisions of the European Social Charter. We trust that their EU Council Presidency will be a spur to encourage other states to make progress in the same direction”, said Jorge Nuño Mayer, Secretary General of Caritas Europa.

The delegation also held meetings with the Finnish Ecumenical Church Council and the Finnish global development NGO umbrella organisation Fingo.