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 Full text 
Wednesday, 17 July 2019 - Strasbourg Provisional edition

Presentation of the programme of activities of the Finnish Presidency of the Council (debate)

  Ville Niinistö (Verts/ALE). – Mr President, thank you Prime Minister for your rather bold speech on the rule of law and human rights. It’s very timely today, as I would also like to congratulate Finland for the hundred-year anniversary of the form of government in Finland – the Finnish constitution, that gave the Finnish people the right to freedom of expression and political rights. These rights need to be protected today everywhere in Europe. So I wish you success with that and I hope that you raise the current ongoing processes on Article 7 in the Council during your Presidency.

But my main question and my main point is on climate change. The Finnish Government itself wants to take up the discussion on the 55% target to 2030 in emission reductions in Europe and it should be taken up this autumn. It is not enough to discuss the 2050 carbon neutrality target if we want to achieve what we have promised in the Paris Agreement, that is that we are actually limiting global warming to 1.5°. Even the European Union is not doing enough as it is and we should be honest about it: even my home country of Finland is not doing enough. So we need to raise the discussion on the 55% target that von der Leyen yesterday also promised to do in the Commission. This should be taken up this autumn in order for the European Union to be strong in the UN discussions when the Secretary-General is organising a meeting on climate. I hope you raise this issue this autumn in the Council too and ensure that it moves forward.

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