After advising Prime Minister Sanna Marin (the SDP) how to use the earpiece that pushed out a simultaneous translation of Germany to Finnish, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the Finnish prime minister were ready to brief the press on Wednesday afternoon in Berlin.

Prime Minister Sanna Marin at the press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin, Germany, on February 19, 2020. Picture: Bernhard Ludewig

Prime Minister Marin and Chancellor Merkel had just finished their discussions, and both were happy to remark on the close relationship between Finland and Germany.

“Germany is Finland’s most important trading partner, and we both value cooperation within the European Union and the strengthening of the union,” Marin said at the press conference.

In their meeting, Prime Minister Marin and Chancellor Merkel discussed the next multiannual financial framework, that is, the EU’s long-term budget for 2021–2027.

These negotiations are said to be unusually tough. According to the Financial Times, Brexit has blown a hole in the budget and all member states will have to chip in more. In a budget proposal conducted during Finland’s presidency of the Council of the EU, Germany would need to pay more than it’s willing.

“I told the chancellor that Finland is aiming at a moderate overall level for the financial framework and considers it important to allocate sufficient resources to rural development. Funding for agricultural development can support the sector in its transition to climate sustainability. We want the financial framework to support the member states in implementing the EU’s ambitious climate policy and ensuring respect for the rule of law,” Prime Minister Marin said.

The EU’s ambitious climate policy and the European green growth program, the Green Deal, were another key theme of the day’s discussions. The EU is committed to achieving climate neutrality by 2050. 

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“Ambitious climate policy and digitalization are key issues when it comes to strengthening the EU’s competitiveness and industrial renewal. We must decide on increasing the emissions reduction targets for 2030 to 55 percent and accelerate investments in competence building and research,” Marin said.

The leaders of the EU countries will meet tomorrow in Brussels for a special meeting of the European Council, where negotiations on the EU’s long-term budget will begin based on a proposal by President of the European Council Charles Michel.

The proposal differs from the compromise proposal drafted by Finland during its Council presidency.