Priorities in EU and international affairs in the Ministry of the Interior’s administrative branch for 2019

Each year the Ministry of the Interior updates the priorities guiding its EU and international activities. In 2019, Finland’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union during the second half of the year will take precedence. Anticipation of changes in the international security situation, management of migration and control of the external borders continue to be among the key priority areas in the administrative branch this year.

The Ministry of the Interior aims to take active and systematic action in EU and international affairs that supports the Government’s policies.

Anticipating developments in the international security situation and changes in the external security environment

  • We will anticipate the need for cooperation arising from changes in the security environment and maintain direct contacts with strategic partner countries; we will ensure smooth bilateral and multilateral cooperation with our neighbouring countries in particular.
  • We will improve international exchanges of information and the ability to identify and analyse threats in order to clarify situation awareness and to counter hybrid threats. We will also develop our foresight, research and innovation capabilities.
  • Through international cooperation and participation in international expert duties, we will reinforce the crisis resilience of the EU and its Member States and strengthen our ability to respond to internal security threats, including hybrid threats.
  • We will take an active role in the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, and we will develop and maintain national capabilities to provide and receive international assistance.
  • We will participate actively in the preparation of the EU’s next multiannual financial framework for 2021–2027 in view of the financing that supports the Ministry of the Interior’s administrative branch.
  • We will support developing ways of countering violent extremism (CVE), in particular by enhancing the effectiveness of the EU’s CVE structures and continuing the active work of sharing our best practices.
  • We will take part in improving information exchange and EU-level information systems to combat terrorism and other forms of serious crime.

Supporting managed migration and control of the external borders

  • We will contribute to the implementation of the Common European Asylum System and the effective implementation of the proposed reforms. We will work to centralise the process for applying for asylum outside the EU or at the EU’s external borders, instead of within the EU.
  • We will seek to speed up asylum procedures, discourage abuse of the procedures and prevent secondary movements of applicants within the EU.
  • We will develop the EU’s return policy and seek to make use of all EU policies in cooperation with third countries on migration.
  • We will negotiate cooperation arrangements concerning returns with Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia, in particular.
  • We will bear international responsibility by resettling refugees. We will seek to promote the use of this legal path across the entire EU and to shift the focus of granting protection to resettlement closer to the countries of origin, instead of seeking asylum.
  • We will participate in the stepping up of cooperation at the EU’s external borders and the implementation of European integrated border management.
  • We will promote measures to improve border security and smooth border checks.
  • We will prepare an action plan to address the deficiencies identified in the Schengen evaluation of Finland and we will submit a report on the implementation of the action plan to the Commission. We will take an active part in evaluations in other Member States.
  • We will actively contribute to finding solutions in the EU that make it possible to move to Finland because of work, studies and entrepreneurship and that allow for smooth processes in attracting foreign talents and employees to Finland.