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EMBASSY OF FINLAND, Prague

Hellichova 1, 11800 Prague 1, The Czech Republic
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News, 8/3/2016

The intense kickoff of Slovakia’s EU presidency

The Finnish delegation at the Bratislava castle: Secretary of State Samuli Virtanen in the middle, negotiating official Satu Keskinen from the Council of State on the right and temp. Charge d'affaires Ari Tasanen from Prague on the left.
The Finnish delegation at the Bratislava castle: Secretary of State Samuli Virtanen in the middle, negotiating official Satu Keskinen from the Council of State on the right and temp. charge Ari Tasanen from Prague on the left.

The Finnish Embassy in Prague, that is also managing Slovakian affairs, had a chance to take a look at the issues and organization of Slovakia’s EU presidency. Temp. chargé Ari Tasanen was part of the delegation led by Secretary of State Samuli Virtanen at the informal meeting of the Ministers for European Affairs and Secretaries of State taking place in Bratislava 25.-25.7.

This was the sixth informal meeting of the ministers since the beginning of Slovakia’s EU presidency 1.7. When the August holiday season comes to an end, it will be followed by a tight schedule of informal meetings of the Foreign Ministers, Finance Ministers and Ministers of Agriculture. However, the focal point will be the informal EU27 meeting of the Heads of States that will discuss Brexit and its impact on the EU, future of the EU and the communication of EU’s achievements and accomplishments to its citizens.

The dinners of the high-level meeting are organized in the Bratislava castle.
The dinners of the high-level meeting are organized in the Bratislava castle.

Holding the informal meeting of the Heads of States in the EU presidency capital instead of Brussels already contains a message of bringing the EU closer to the citizens. The last time this took place was in 2007, when only the EU circle’s meeting of the Heads of State was held in Lisbon.

The Bratislava meeting of the Ministers for European Affairs discussed whether the strategic agenda that was approved two years ago was up to date. The accomplishments of the continent’s integrational progress were discussed but the meeting also called for more concrete results especially in the area of security and economic welfare. If this can be achieved and better communicated to the citizens, the EU has hope.

All the high-level meetings in Bratislava are concentrated in the magnificent Reduta concert hall that has been turned into a conference space. Reduta will be freed for concerts again after mid-October.
All the high-level meetings in Bratislava are concentrated in the magnificient Reduta concert hall that has been turned into a conference space. Reduta will be freed for concerts again after mid-October.

The background context is Great Britain leaving the EU, which is based on the citizens’ negative experiences of the country’s EU membership. The meeting of the Ministers for European Affairs and the Secretaries of State outlined the discussion for the meeting of the Heads of States that will be held in just under two months.

The delegations could also observe the outstanding efforts of the host country in regard to the arrangements and functional as well as stylish meeting spaces. They excellently promote the targets of the subject matter.

Text: Ari Tasanen

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Updated 8/3/2016


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