Finland supports Belgian EU presidency programme

“Finland is very supportive of the Belgian presidency programme”, stated Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja at a joint press conference with Belgian Foreign Minister Louis Michel on Thursday, 12 July, in Halosenniemi,Tuusula. Tuomioja said Finland sees no points of disagreement in the main items of the Belgian programme and described it very ambitious.

Foreign Minister Michel said there are many political issues which Belgia woull have to address during the next six months. “For my part, I should like to set out the intentions of the Belgian Presidency with regard to the enlargement and the Union’s foreign policy actions. We are totally supportive of the enlargement”, he stated.

Tuomioja and Michel also discussed the Belgian presidency plan to deepen the dialogue and
co-operation with Africa. Tuomioja expressed his interest in and support for the Belgian presidency plan for Africa. Foreign Minister Michel told Belgian is very vexed with the indecisiveness of the EU regarding the location of the European Food Authority. The Gothenburg European Council did not adopt a decision eventhough the authority is to become operational on 1 January, 2002. ”We are trying to solve it. There are really good arguments in favour of Finland,” Michel said.

The minister’s brief visit to Finland was a part of the tour of EU capitals Belgia has undertaken as acting President of the Council of Ministers of the European Union. Belgia is trying to regenerate the tradition of capital tours, which has lapsed since the Finnish presidency.