High Level Working Group on Competitiveness and Growth to discuss sustainable growth in Helsinki
The EU’s High Level Working Group on Competitiveness and Growth will meet in Helsinki on 8–9 September 2019. The group will discuss sustainable growth in the EU with the aim of preparing on behalf of the Competitiveness Council a message to the European Commission discussing the key elements of sustainable growth. In Helsinki, the group will also lay the groundwork for the next meeting of the Competitiveness Council in September.
A long-term goal of Finland’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union is to make the EU the world’s most competitive and socially inclusive climate neutrality economy. Climate change, the accelerating pace of technological advances and the intensifying international competition present challenges for Europe. The EU needs a comprehensive, ambitious and forward-looking agenda for growth geared towards enhancing the EU’s competitiveness in the global context and creating ecologically and socially sustainable economic growth.
Finland’s Presidency highlights that sustainable growth and competitiveness in the EU need a well-functioning single market and a transition towards a climate-neutral economy. Sustainable growth also necessitates investing in digital solutions and a modern industrial policy that is based on research and innovation. The goal must be to make Europe the global leader of the digital economy. The EU should engage in active trade policy that is based on openness, the rules-based multilateral trading system and the promotion of free trade. There is also a need for more flexible solutions to reskill and upskill the European workforce that better respond to the needs of the working life in the digital era. This concerns all sectors and all levels.
“On Monday my colleagues and I will be discussing the ‘main product’ of the Finnish Presidency in the field of competitiveness and growth, and that is the agenda for sustainable growth. The idea is that we can use these discussions and the ministers’ discussions in the next Competitiveness Council to formulate a common understanding among the Member States of the policy measures best equipped to promote sustainable growth in Europe over the next five years,” says the group’s chair Janne Känkänen who is also Director for EU and International Affairs at Finland’s Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment.
Känkänen chairs the High Level Working Group for the 18-month trio presidency of Romania, Finland and Croatia. The informal meeting to be held in Helsinki is already the fifth meeting chaired by Finland. The High Level Working Group, composed of high-level representatives from the Member States’ ministries for economic affairs, meets regularly. Under Känkänen’s chairmanship, it has discussed the key elements of sustainable growth already earlier this year with the aim of laying the groundwork for the EU’s future priorities in the field of growth and competitiveness.
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Janne Känkänen, Director for EU and International Affairs, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 29 506 4200