Finland in the European Union: Frontrunner or follower?

13 November 2018
Marco Giuli (Researcher in EU energy and climate policy, Institute of European Studies, Free University of Brussels), Annika Hedberg (Head of Sustainable Prosperity for Europe programme and Senior Policy Analyst) and Paul Ivan (Senior Policy Analyst)

While Finland’s self-perception of being a constructive player and a ‘good pupil’ in the European Union (EU) is generally shared by others, the narrative is tainted with shades of grey. This Discussion Paper analyses the perception and position of Finland in the EU, with a particular focus on three areas: (i) the Single Market, (ii) the circular economy, climate and energy policies; and (iii) foreign and security policy, and shows that the country is, in fact, a more ordinary member state than it is perhaps willing to concede.

Since national debates usually overlook the standing and relative contribution of each member state in advancing the EU agenda, this paper aims to foster such awareness and provide suggestions on how Finland could become a more effective and constructive player within the EU. The underlying assumption is that Finland wishes to remain at the centre of the efforts that will shape the future of the EU, and this paper aims to provide input to the national debate on Finland’s role and objectives in the EU ahead of the upcoming national as well as European elections, in the spring of 2019, as well as the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union, in the second half of next year.

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