Memorandum of the Foreign Ministry of 18 September 1995 on the views of the Finnish Government concerning the 1996 Intergovernmental Conference

In this memorandum to the Finnish Parliament the Government of Finland states its position for the first time on the forthcoming Conference. Its purpose is to introduce a series of views to be used as the basis for subsequent preparation of Finland's official position at the IGC.

Its first chapter on the future of the European Union and the IGC states as a basic premise that the European Union should continue to develop as an association of independent states, to which its members have transferred powers to be exercised jointly for the achievement of agreed objectives. Finland's objective is a Union which will efficiently safeguard the welfare and common values of its citizens and work for the development of the international community in stability, cooperation and security. The objectives for the Union's development and the timetable this will require should be defined jointly, respecting the right of all the Union's Member States to take part in the decision-making process on an equal footing. The Finnish Government takes the view that the European Union cannot be based on differing classes of membership and that the Member States may only in exceptional cases decide by common agreement that a given country should observe a different speed or timetable in its progress towards fulfilment of the jointly agreed objectives.

The memorandum's second chapter discusses citizens and the Union. On European citizenship, it says that a more precise definition of this concept in the Treaties would be a way of ensuring that the principles of transparency, democracy, legal primacy, equality, social justice and respect for human rights are observed at European level. The Conference should also study how to develop the social rights and duties of European citizens. In the Finnish Government's view, a key principle should be that citizenship of one Member State is a precondition for citizenship of the Union. On the need to increase democracy, the memorandum wants a bigger role for the European Parliament and the national parliaments in the Union decision-making process and points to the need for strengthening cooperation between them. In the campaign to increase democracy the role of the national parliaments should continue to be the point of reference, though the question must be examined at the IGC from every point of view. To increase transparency, the European Union must improve the ways in which the Member States and their citizens gain access to day-to-day information on the Union, its legislation and decision-making procedure. In this respect the Finnish Government refers to the final report of a working party on the subject set up by the Finnish Ministry of Justice on 22 June 1995, which lists a series of ways of increasing transparency and easing the flow of information. Of these, the memorandum raises the possibility of adding a specific article on public information to the Treaty; the possibility of adopting legislation to increase public access to the Union institutions' documents; and systematic encouragementof transparency in various other ways. The need for efficiency, in the memorandum's view, requires applying such criteria as the proper use of resources in relation to the objectives pursued, setting an adequate timetable for adopted decisions and the way in which such decisions are put into practice. The paper also discusses the issue of the subsidiarity principle, which it regards as essentially political rather than legal in character and hence a point of reference when assessing the possibility of extending the Union's powers. Be that as it may, the Finnish Government considers that the principle should not be applied in such a way that it impedes the achievement of objectives laid down in the Treaties, in certain important areas such as environmental protection and social rights, or dilutes existing Community law by delegating too many implementing decisions to the national sphere. On fundamental rights, the memorandum suggests that a possible way of strengthening the human rights and fundamental freedoms of Union citizens and other persons legally residing in the Union would be for the Union to accede to the Council of Europe Convention on the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and to include certain basic rights in the Treaty on European Union, such as the principle of equality. This list of fundamental or key rights should be worded in a clear and legally binding way. Finland is in favour of including a provision in the Treaty banning racism and xenophobia, for instance by inserting such a ban in the principle of equality or non-discrimination. The memorandum points out that equal opportunities for men and women is an important issue and that a specific provision should be included in the Treaties on this principle. Sexual equality should extend to every sphere of human activity, and to ensure compliance with the principle Finland thinks there should be a right of appeal to the European Court of Justice and that the powers of the European Ombudsman should be extended to include the monitoring compliance with the principle of sexual equality.
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The memorandum's third chapter deals with the Union's institutional system, which should be democratic, transparent and efficient. On the Council, Finland believes it should continue on the basis of equal status for all the participating Member States. On the decision-making process in the Community sphere, the memorandum points out that using population as a criterion for the adoption of decisions by a qualified majority could weaken the position of the smaller countries. It appears to support the idea of increasing the number of decisions adopted by qualified majority in the Community pillar, specifically on environmental issues, in order to improve the effectiveness of the decision-making process, but at the same time calls for a definition of the areas in which the unanimity requirement should continue to be the norm. On the Presidency, after listing the various options put forward the memorandum says that continuity is important but the acceptance of such proposals could lead to unequal treatment of the Member States. It therefore concludes that the proposals under discussion are not justified and suggests that other ways be considered for improving current practice in this area.

On the Commission, the Finnish Government thinks its current independence from the Member States should continue, as should its present position under the Community pillar, and that there is no need to make fundamental changes to the Treaties on the Commission's role with regard to the second pillar (CFSP). On the other hand the Finnish Government proposes looking into ways of strengthening the Commission's roles in areas covered by the third pillar (CJHA). On the question of the composition and number of Commission Members, it thinks each Member State should have one Commissioner. At the same time itcannot accept a change in the present system for appointing Members, arguing that it is important for Member States to retain the power to choose their own individual Commissioners. On the responsibility of the Commission and Commissioners, Finland considers it sufficient for the Commission to continue to be legally responsible to the Court of Justice and continue to enjoy the political confidence of the European Parliament. There is no need for individual Commissioners to be subject to a vote of confidence before Parliament, nor for changes to be made to the current system for dismissing Members.

On the European Parliament, Finland admits the possibility of slightly changing its status in the Community sphere provided this does not lead to an institutional imbalance. It thinks that when preparing for the Conference there should be an analysis of the present scope of the cooperation procedure and the extent to which this procedure could be replaced by the codecision procedure under Article 189b of the Treaty. Similarly, it thinks that the IGC should ascertain whether the budget procedure could be simplified without affecting the role of the various institutions in the decision-making process. Finland thinks there is no case for putting amendments to the basic treaties to the European Parliament for approval. Again, since it would also affect the present institutional balance, Finland is sceptical about the possibility of giving Parliament the right of initiative. While recognizing Parliament's extremely limited role in the spheres of the second and third pillars, i.e. in the fields of intergovernmental cooperation, Finland considers that Parliament's role is adequate at present in the case of the second pillar (CFSP) while its role could be reviewed in regard to the third pillar (CJHA) by making changes to the subjects that are currently governed by the third pillar. On Parliament's composition, Finland considers that in the event of further enlargement an increase in the number of MEPs could be limited by reducing the current quotas. In any case it considers that the number of MEPs from smaller Member States should be higher than that resulting from the application of any method of calculation based exclusively on the population of the various Member States.

Turning to the Court of Justice, the memorandum considers there is no case for extending the Court's powers to the second pillar. However, it does think close attention should be given to extending the Court's powers to the field of cooperation on justice and home affairs. It argues that there is no need to change the procedure for appointing judges and that their present mandate should be maintained. It points out that the Court of Justice and the Court of First Instance are not formally superior in rank to the national courts and believes that the role of the Court of Justice and its relationship with the national courts should not be changed, since the present system ensures that Community law is complied with and interpreted and applied consistently.

The memorandum draws attention to the important political and policy-making role played by the European Council, although it is not at present a Union institution and does not take legally binding decisions. It suggests that consideration should be given to making the necessary changes to enable this Council to develop its guiding role more efficiently and define the way in which it can operate in other spheres. On the issue of the hierarchy of Community acts the Finnish document reviews the present system and points to the technical problems to which clarification of the hierarchy could give rise, suggesting the need for a pragmatic approach to progress in this area. It goes on to look at the issue of commitology, favouring clarification of the present process. Finland would like the Council's role to be redefined in this area and thinksit conceivable to reduce the use of this procedure by transferring major implementing powers to the Commission. It thinks the procedure should be revised in those cases where decisions are adopted under the codecision procedure with a view to defining Parliament's role in such cases and taking account of the need to act with the greatest possible efficiency. On the question of implementing Community law, Finland favours giving the Commission sufficient resources to monitoring the implementation of Community law in the Member States, if necessary by introducing new forms of penalties.
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Chapter 4 of the Finnish memorandum deals with the common foreign and security policy. It points out that enlargement of the European Union to include the Central European and Baltic countries is vital for the Union's security and considers that when defining the needs of the Union's security policy sufficient attention must be given to the Scandinavian dimension. When discussing the decision-making procedure under the CFSP, Finland wants all important decisions to be adopted by consensus, while the qualified majority procedure could be used to deal with other issues such as the implementation of agreed measures. On the role of Parliament and the Commission in the second pillar, the Finnish Government considers that there is no need to change the present law (Articles J.7 and J.9) which respectively give Parliament the right to be consulted and informed and the Commission the right to be associated with the CFSP. On other ways to strengthen the CFSP, the memorandum would like to develop a joint assessment system and analysis capacity in this field, proposing that such assessment and analysis is integrated into the range of functions to be developed by the Council secretariat. Finland supports the idea of stepping up efforts to implement and monitor decisions, arguing that since the measures concerned are intergovernmental, it is up to the Member States to play a key part through their normal procedures for parliamentary supervision. On funding, Finland thinks that the CFSP should be financed primarily outside the Community budget in order to safeguard the Council's independence when adopting operational decisions under the CFSP. It does not favour changing the present rotational system for the Council presidency in the CFSP sphere and considers that the establishment of a new figure to take charge of external relations, such as a CFSP Secretary General, would not help to clarify the Union's activities in its relations with the outside world. On crisis management, the memorandum considers it essential to define relations between the European Union and the WEU, which it regards as one of the main tasks for the IGC. Finland thinks political leadership should continue to be situated in the European Union, which should entrust the implementation of crisis management operations to the WEU. On the specific issue of defence, Finland thinks that intergovernmental action and unanimity in decision-making should continue to be the fundamental principles. It also thinks there is a need to extend military cooperation beyond the Petersberg agreements. Finally, Finland declares its willingness to make a constructive contribution with regard to amending Article 223 of the Treaty with regard to cooperation on arms.

The Finnish memorandum discusses cooperation on justice and home affairs in its fifth chapter. It argues that there is a need to define the Union's objectives clearly and precisely under the third pillar. The transfer of matters currently covered by the third pillar to the first or Community pillar should be studied case by case on a pragmatic and open basis, but Finland considers that issues of great importance to national sovereignty in the national states should not be placed under Community responsibility. Specifically, it considers that issues connected with the control of external frontiers should continue to be subjectto intergovernmental cooperation and that cooperation against international crime should be stepped up. This could take the form of increasing cooperation between the various Member States' police authorities and or reciprocal, legal and administrative assistance. It also thinks there is a need for the rapid entry into force of the Europol Convention and is interested in the proposals to set up a European legal area. Here it is especially interested in cooperation on issues connected with the operation of the single market, such as the campaign against fraud in the Community, and the application of sentencing in the field of family law. The Finnish Government would also like to see harmonization and joint action on immigration and other forms of entry to the Union's territory, demanding that due attention is given to the budgetary cost. On political asylum, Finland would like work to continue on coordinating the various present points of view, stating that it is ready to sign the Dublin Convention as soon as this enters into force. It would like to strengthen the Commission's role in the area of the third pillar, while considering that the role currently played by Parliament in this field is sufficient. It also thinks the powers of the Court of Justice should not be extended to areas affecting national sovereignty. On the other, it would like the Community institutions automatically to assume their responsibilities on any issues transferred from the third pillar to the Community pillar. Finally, Finland considers that the present working methods under the third pillar are unnecessarily complex and involve too many stages. It would therefore like to simplify the present five-level structure.

Chapter 6 of the Finnish Government's memorandum deals with Union activity in the fields of employment, the environment and other issues. Generally speaking, Finland thinks there is no need to substantially increase the European Union's powers, though it does think there could be a case in some areas for introducing further amendments to the Treaties, to facilitate joint action that would help more effectively to solve problems affecting all the Member States and coming under the common objectives. On employment, the Finnish Government points out that any amendment of the Union Treaties should be designed to ensure that employment policy and its relationship with economic policy are properly organized at European level, and that the conclusions of various European Councils on the subject of employment could be a sound starting basis. At the same time, careful thought should be given to the various suggestions put forward for establishing separate employment funds and for possibly setting up an employment administration at Community level with its own budget, or for developing financial investment mechanisms of a pan-European nature, while greater use should be made of existing funds to support employment policies.

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On the environment, Finland considers that the issue of sustainable development, including the integration of environmental considerations into all sectoral policies, should be a priority when the Treaties are revised. At the same time, environmental cooperation with third countries should be promoted. With regard to the Community objectives on the environment, Finland considers that sustainable development should be adopted as one of the Community's basic objectives. The aim should be to consolidate the principle already set out in Article 130r(2) of the Maastricht Treaty in order to introduce these objectives into other sectors of Community policy, mentioning in particular the single market, agriculture, transport, industrial policy, the Structural Funds and policies on trans-European networks. Finland considers that the Community already has sufficient powers on the environment, though it does think that the decision-making system in this area needs simplifying, and Parliament's positionwithin this system should be revised. Specifically, more use should be made of the qualified majority procedure in all issues relating to the environment, possibly including energy and environmental taxes. Community decisions in this field should be designed to obtain the highest possible level of environmental protection, leaving the various Member States free to lay down stricter environmental protection laws, while taking into account the principle of the free movement of goods.

The memorandum further refers to the social dimension of the Union, which it believes should be tightened up. Finland thinks the European Union should pursue a policy based on social and economic development that will make it possible to prevent any form of social exclusion or division. It believes the principle should be adopted at European Union level that social policy aspects should always be taken into account in any decisions that are adopted. It supports the view that all social policy provisions should be fully integrated in the Treaty, to ensure that a range of minimum social protection standards is established at Community level, while allowing the individual Member States to apply higher levels of protection than required by the European Union. Finland is not in favour of Community-level economic control of social security but does support Community-level research projects on social and health policy. It would like the social dialogue at Community level to be stepped up to include social security issues, and would also like general questions of public health to be taken up at Community level. Finally, it believes the Union should be responsible for increasing cooperation in all these areas so as to even out current differences in the standard of living of citizens in different Member States.

On energy, Finland considers that the Union energy policy should complement the national policies of its Member States and enhance their value. It favours the establishment of a single market in the energy sector and any initiative to encourage energy savings in the Union and lay down European energy consumption standards. Finland believes the Union should endeavour to promote at European level further progress and commercialization of the energy policy and develop trans-European networks. Taking the view that energy issues could be dealt with outside the present framework of Community competence, Finland believes that any extension of these powers should be carefully examined. On tourism, it believes coordination should be stepped up in the Community framework, initially by making use of existing instruments and resources. It calls for special attention to be given to cooperation on commercialization throughout the European Union and for cooperation with neighbouring areas, giving special attention to protection of the environment and the cultural heritage when implementing tourist policies. On civil protection, Finland considers that this should continue to be the responsibility of the Member States and should be based on cooperation between them. It proposes that cooperation on civil protection, which is currently based on Council of Europe resolutions, should continue to be developed in a rational way on that basis. The Commission could encourage cooperation but without changing its present role. At the same time, questions of civil protection could be better taken into account when dealing with issues of security or involving certain hazards, and at the same levels of protection in this field could be increased.

Finland's starting-points and objectives for the 1996 IGC - report of the Finnish Government, 27 February 1996

Unlike the note of 18 September 1995, which was submitted by the Foreign Ministry in anticipation of the Government's official positions on the IGC, the report of the Finnish Government submitted to the national Parliament on 27 February 1996 outlines the Government's starting-points and objectives for the 1996 IGC. The document begins by summarizing the various stages of the internal procedure in Finland leading to the definition of the national position on the IGC, and goes on to set out Finland's starting-points for the Conference.

Finland wishes to see the Union develop as an association of independent states, and undertakes to support all efforts to improve its ability to promote sustainable economic development, employment and environmental protection, while also committing itself to endorsing the advances in the CFSP required for effective furthering of its objective and responding to crises threatening the Union's stability and security. Finland will also promote transparency in the Union's decision-making process. It supports preservation of the acquis communautaire; on differentiated integration, Finland believes it necessary to respect the conditions set out in the report of the Reflection Group of 5 December 1995. The Finnish Government does not think the IGC should cover the other subjects included in the agenda of future challenges for the Union agreed on at the Madrid European Council. Otherwise, the statement of the Finnish position broadly reproduces the order of the Reflection Group's report.

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Concerning Finland's positions for the IGC, and following the methodology of the Reflection Group's report, the Finnish Government's text starts by examining citizenship and the Union. It first considers the aspect of the promotion of European values, beginning with fundamental rights. Finland feels that the human rights and fundamental freedoms of Union citizens and persons resident in its territory must be protected, for instance by the Community's accession to the European Human Rights Convention. On equality and non-discrimination, the Finnish Government supports inclusion in the Treaties of a general provision outlawing discrimination, including a ban on racism and xenophobia. Concerning equality between the sexes, it feels that the Treaties should also include a ban on discrimination and a specific clause on the equality of men and women. Such a clause would commit the Union to promoting compliance with the principle of sexual equality within its fields of competence, without stopping Member States from adopting more advanced legislation. On Union citizenship, the Finnish Government considers that the existing provisions should be complemented by the introduction of new rights linked to this concept.

In the same chapter, the text examines freedom of movement and internal security. Finland believes that clearer objectives should be attached to the provisions on cooperation in justice and home affairs, including a specific obligation on the Union to ensure that the single market does not endanger the security of those resident within its territory. Finland also wishes the Treaty should include an objective stating that the legal status of a natural person changing residence from one Member State to another should be maintained as far as possible. Concerning the possible communitarization of the third pillar, Finland thinks it especially important that the Conference should remedy the existing shortcomings in the decision-making system which represent obstacles to third-pillar cooperation, concerning, in particular, the unanimity rule for most decisions, the Commission's limited powers of initiative and the uncertainor inadequate legal status of the decisions adopted. Finland believes that more CJHA decisions should be adopted by qualified majority voting, and that the Commission should have greater powers of initiative in this area. There should also be guarantees that the legality of the Union institutions' decisions can be examined by the Court of Justice.

On employment, the Finnish Government believes that the Union's objectives should stress the importance of competitiveness and of achieving as high an employment level as possible in the Union. The Union should also be obliged to undertake horizontal examination of employment-related matters. Given the reality of mutual interdependence, Finland believes that the EU should actively pursue a pan-European strategy for employment, in parallel to the implementation of EMU; this strategy should be included in the Treaties. Equally, the Treaties should incorporate specific provisions concerning common monitoring of the employment situation in the Union. On the social dimension, Finland insists that close attention should be paid to the balanced development of economic and social integration, with strengthening of the Union's social aspect: the social protocol and a complementary agreement should be incorporated in the Treaty in such a way as to cover all the Member States. Nonetheless, Finland considers that the adoption of basic social policy decisions should continue to be a national matter. On the environment, Finland wishes to see the principle of sustainable development added to the Treaty objectives in this field. At the same time, the basic principles already included in it should be reinforced and the objectives of the sectoral policies should be revised in the light of the principle of sustainable development, though without abandoning the principle of the free movement of goods. The Union should be obliged to include horizontal consideration of the environmental aspects in, at least, the CAP, transport policy, training and research policy, industrial policy and policy on the Structural Funds and the various networks. The Community's authority in the environmental field should be increased, and the decision-making process in this area should be simplified. Finland proposes that qualified majority voting should be used wherever possible for such matters, without prejudice to a reinforcement of the possibility of Member States adopting more advanced rules than the Community legislation in the environmental field.

The text goes on to consider transparency. After recalling the declaration approved by Finland on the subject, the document reiterates Finland's support for greater public access and transparency in the Union's activities. It points out that in Finland 'open government' means that public access to official documents is a political and legal obligation, and states that Finland will continue to apply that principle in accordance with its rights and obligations as an EU member. Concerning the publication of documents, the Finnish Government believes that the Treaty should include an article which would allow the Council, at a later date, to adopt legislation on the subject. Finland would also accept inclusion in the Treaty of a provision obliging the Council to take its legislative decisions in public whenever the adoption of new decisions is involved. On simplification of the Treaty texts, Finland considers that the Conference should take the necessary action to ensure that the texts are understood by the public. With respect to subsidiarity, the Finnish view is that there is no need to alter Article 3b of the Treaty, where the concept is defined: clarification and correct application of the principle could be achieved by including a protocol in the Treaty based on the Edinburgh declaration on subsidiarity.
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On institutional matters, the text first discusses the European Parliament. Finland agrees that Parliament's role should be strengthened as far as the legislative procedures are concerned. However, given that Finland's starting-point is the preservation of the Union's basic nature as an association of states, it proposes rejecting all proposals entailing greater powers for Parliament in the decision-making process concerning modification of the Treaty. On the Commission, Finland favours preserving its independent status vis- à -vis the Member States and its central role in the Community pillar. It also feels that the Commission must have sufficient resources to enable it undertake effective monitoring of the implementation of Community legislation and compliance with the other duties of Union membership; monitoring should, Finland believes, be based largely on effective use of the existing arsenal of sanctions. Finland does not, however, see any need to make substantial changes to the Commission's position regarding intergovernmental cooperation in the sphere of the CFSP; it nonetheless welcomes the possibility of extending the Commission's right of initiative in third-pillar matters. On the Commission's membership, the appointment of commissioners and the institution's responsibilities, Finland considers that there should be one commissioner per Member State and opposes the notion of different 'classes' of commissioner. It endorses the existing arrangements for choosing the Commission and its President, sees no need to amend the Treaty provisions concerning votes of censure on Commissioners or their resignation. On the European Council, Finland again sees no reason to alter the relevant Treaty provisions. Concerning the Council, the Finnish view is that it should continue to be the central decision-making body, on the basis of the equality of the Member States. On the subject of the decision-making process and the weighting arrangements, Finland would not change the existing arrangements for qualified majority voting, at least not until after enlargement. It believes, however, that qualified majority voting should be extended to other fields, including social and environmental policy matters. Finland does not rule out adopting more decisions by qualified majority voting under the second and third pillars. With regard to the Council Presidency and the Council's working methods, Finland does not think that any practical improvements designed to make the Presidency more efficient would require changes to the Treaty. Concerning the Court of Justice, the Finnish Government sees no reason to alter its status or its relations with Member State courts; it believes that the court's jurisdiction should be extended to the third pillar but not to the CFSP. Finland is satisfied with the existing system of appointing ECJ judges. On the Court of Auditors, Finland believes this body's powers should be developed and strengthened, to improve the efficacy of its monitoring of the use of Community funds. It should be compulsory to consult the Court of Auditors on certain legislative subjects, and the institution should have the right to lodge formal complaints where its action is obstructed; its jurisdiction should be extended to cover all three pillars. On the Economic and Social Committee, Finland is satisfied with this body's status and sees no reason for any change to the Treaties in this respect. Similarly, it believes that the consultative role of the Committee of the Regions should continue on the existing lines.

The Finnish Government's text goes on to consider the question of the national parliaments, taking the view that they should have the genuine opportunity to influence the Union's actions, thus fortifying its democratic character. Decisions concerning relations between national governments and parliaments should continue to be adopted at national level; the Union institutions should work on the basis of openness and maximum efficiency, using procedures which facilitate, rather than limiting, the national parliaments' ability to influencethe adoption of positions by the Member States. Finland would accept cooperation between the national parliaments and the Member States on the lines set out in Declaration No 13. It sees no need to make any changes in the ratification process for Treaty revision or to create a legislative hierarchy of Union acts. On commitology, Finland favours clarification of the use of this procedure and a reinforced role for the Commission in its application. It does not, however, favour participation of the European Parliament or of any other institution in the work of the executive committees. On the subject of the Union's resources, Finland does not consider this a matter for the IGC, and therefore sees no reason to include specific provisions on the Union's financial system in the Treaty. Finland considers that the budgetary procedure should be simplified, with the introduction of a single stage both in Council and in Parliament - a change which could alter the balance of competences between the two institutions. The classification of expenditure into compulsory and non-compulsory categories should be simplified. Finland believes that the Court of Auditors should have greater powers to act against fraud and carry out effective supervision of resource use. Concerning the Community policies, Finland considers, in general terms, that the Community should first concentrate on improving its performance in its existing areas of competence. Accordingly, Finland does not support the inclusion of energy, tourism and civil protection among the common policies, although conceding that the last-named could in practice be subsumed under the third pillar. It does, however, believe that the Treaties should be amended to improve consumer protection.
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The text also examines the Union's external action. It is argued that there must be a global approach to the question of the EU's external relations, to ensure that they are consistency and that the CFSP's resources are used in a uniform manner. Finland believes that it is possible to develop cooperation between the various areas of the Union's external relations within the present institutional structure, by strengthening a global approach transcending the division into pillars. It therefore considers that the existing procedures should be subject to continuous development and the relationship between COREPER and the Political Committee spelt out. Finland does not feel that any of this should call for changes in the Treaties. Concerning the development of the CFSP, Finland stresses the need to take equal account of the interests of all the Member States, and considers that the CFSP must continue to be based on intergovernmental cooperation, mutual trust between Member States and a sense of sense of joint responsibility. On the decision-making process, Finland supports greater use of qualified majority voting on matters related to CFSP implementation, and consideration of the possibility of its extension to other areas. On the external representation of the Union, the Finnish position is that the 'visibility' of the CFSP is primarily a matter for the Member State holding the presidency, and opposes the notion of a permanent figure representing the CFSP, arguing that this could create more, rather than less, confusion over the Union's external role. Finland supports the setting-up of a joint planning and analysis capacity in the area of the CFSP, in principle under the aegis of the Council Secretariat, and argues that the role of Parliament in CFSP matters should be clarified on the basis of the existing Union Treaty. It also calls for a more flexible and rapid procedure for the financing of the CFSP, to be associated with its implementation.

Finally, the Finnish Government's report examines security and defence policy, taking the view that military crisis management is part of the CFSP, in whose decision-making process and implementation all the Member States should beenabled to participate on an equal basis; individual Member States should, however, have the right to make independent decisions concerning their own security, which should be respected. The aim should be to ensure the effectiveness of the Union's collective action while safeguarding the right of individual Member States to decide independently whether or not to take part in an operation. Finland believes that the Union's capacity for action will become more effective as the CFSP's scope of coverage increases: this will strengthen the security of both the Union and the Member States. On the subject of EU-WEU relations, Finland favours preserving the Union's political leadership, and feels that the WEU could, in its turn, be an instrument of the CFSP in the execution of decisions concerning military crisis management. This objective is seen as one of the central tasks of the IGC as far as the CFSP is concerned.

The report concludes by listing a series of practical arrangements adopted internally with a view to preparing Finland's position for the IGC and ensuring that public opinion and the country's other bodies and institutions are kept informed on the subject and enabled to discuss it.

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Europaen Parliament, last revised: 18 September 1996
URL : http://../igc/en/pos-fi.htm