Prime Minister Juha Sipilä (centre) spoke to his counterparts from Sweden and Luxembourg, Stefan Löfven (left) and Xavier Bettel, at the headquarters of the European Council in Brussels on 29 April, 2017.

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Finland’s priorities are reflected in the guidelines adopted by the heads of state of the EU-27 for the upcoming negotiations over the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union, says Prime Minister Juha Sipilä (Centre).

“Finland actively contributed to formulating the EU’s negotiating objectives,” he tells in a press release.

The European Union will head into what are expected to be difficult negotiations with the objective of protecting the interests of its citizens, businesses and member states, and ensuring the withdrawal takes places in as controlled a fashion as possible.

“The key for us will be to safeguard, quickly and fully, the interests of EU citizens and the operational preconditions of businesses based in Britain. It is also crucial to ensure Britain honours all of the financial commitments it made as a member of the union,” comments Sipilä.

The EU-27 found a unanimous agreement on what have been described as tough guidelines for the withdrawal negotiations in Brussels on Saturday. Sipilä believes the agreement will leave the bloc in a “strong negotiating position”.

“It is pivotal for our efforts to protect our interests to ensure the union remains united throughout the negotiation process,” he reminds.

The heads of state also agreed that in order to promote the unity of the bloc no member state shall hold separate negotiations with the United Kingdom over Brexit. The European Union has also stipulated that any agreement with the country must be established on “a balance of rights and obligations”.

The negotiations over post-Brexit EU—UK relations will not be launched until the withdrawal negotiations have progressed sufficiently, as determined by the Council of the European Union. The detailed roadmap for the withdrawal negotiations is to be approved on 22 May, thus allowing the union to commence the negotiations.

Sipilä concedes that the negotiations are likely to prove difficult.

“We are faced with extremely challenging negotiations that will take years to complete. Most of the time will be spent on daily work – on meticulous legal and technical details. We will approach the negotiations in a constructive manner and hope the United Kingdom remains a close trading partner also in the future. This is extremely important for Finland,” he writes in his blog.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Emmanuel Dunand – AFP/Lehtikuva
Source: Uusi Suomi

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