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Finland’s EU presidency: call for climate action

As Finland begins its six-month stint in the rotating presidency of the European Council on 1st of July, the Federation of Young European Greens, as well as the Green Youth and Students of Finland Vihreät nuoret call for urgent climate action.

Finland’s Presidency Programme will focus on strengthening the system of human rights and the rule of law in Europe, supporting equality and women’s rights, give more consideration to young people and the prevention of radicalisation. These intentions are good, but still lacking the one priority that has been relentlessly brought up by both the Finnish citizens themselves: urgent need for climate action on the level of European politics.

“According to the new climate report by United Nations, we are rapidly heading towards a climate apartheid, pushing more than 120 million people into poverty by 2030”, says Katri Ylinen, Co- Spokesperson of FYEG.

“As people in poverty are responsible for just a fraction of global emissions. European Union needs to recognize its responsibility and start showing climate leadership immediately”, Ylinen continues.

Ilmastoveivi2019, the largest climate campaign in Finland, founded by a group of concerned youth is clear on their demands: Finland must take the leading position in preventing climate catastrophe together with the Council of Europe. The campaign demands Finland to place climate affairs on the meeting agendas of the Council in order to produce strong resolutions for better climate policies.

"The youth around Europe has shown repeatedly that solving climate crisis needs to be on the top of the agenda. Now it is EU’s turn for ambitious climate action and Finland as the Presidency State must make sure the union will deliver", states the Chairpersons of Green Youth and Students of Finland Amanda Pasanen and Sameli Sivonen.

Finland has stated in their national government program that they want to make Europe the frontrunner of climate politics, and the EU's climate policy will be updated to make it more ambitious through agreeing on the 2050 carbon neutrality target and raising the 2030 emissions reduction target to at least 55 per cent.

However, the Presidency Program is lacking the ambitiousness, and the current Prime Minister of Finland, Antti Rinne (SD), has stated that solving the climate crisis could be Europe’s next heroic act. But the time for coulds and woulds is long gone: now is the time for action and demands from the civil society must be heard.