| The Finnish Presidency of the European Union was a rewarding and demanding
experience. It also served as a demonstration of seamless cooperation between the
preparatory work of officials and decision-making by politicians. The results achieved
fairly well matched the ambitious goals that Finland had set in the programme for the
Presidency. The positive picture was further enhanced by the successful organisation of
two demanding summits and dozens of major meetings held all over the country.
The Helsinki Summit
saw a clear framework laid down for enlargement of the Union, revision of the Treaties and
development of the Union's capacity for crisis management. The European Council in Tampere
established political guidelines on immigration and asylum policy, action to combat
cross-border crime and the improvement of legal security for citizens throughout the EU.
Apart from these
political achievements, the progress made with the everyday legislative work carried out
in Brussels was also an important aspect of Finland's Presidency. Mundane matters such as
the directive on end-of-life cars or the rules on electronic commerce affect the everyday
lives of ordinary citizens in significant ways.
Finland sought to
emphasise openness and a businesslike approach at all levels during the Presidency, which
will leave its mark in the work of the EU in this sense, too.
Prime Minister of Finland