Preparation of EU matters
Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO)
The EPSCO Council decides on EU cooperation in matters pertaining to employment, social policy, health and consumer affairs. Equality-related issues are also within the EPSCO Council’s purview. The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health is responsible for the EPSCO Council compositions concerning health and social affairs. Finland is represented on the EPSCO Council by the Minister of Employment, the Minister of Social Affairs and Health, the Minister of Family Affairs and Social Services, and the Minister for Nordic Cooperation and Equality.
The ministers meet approximately 10 times per year. Six of these meetings are unofficial meetings, and the other 3–4 are official meetings. The official meetings are held in either Brussels or Luxembourg. The unofficial meetings are held in the country that holds the EU presidency.
Sub-committees of the Committee for EU affairs
The Committee for EU affairs has appointed 35 sector-specific preparative sub-committees. The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health is responsible for chairing six sub-committees:
• EU16 insurance services
• EU25 social affairs
• EU26 occupational health and safety
• EU27 social security issues related to the mobility of people
• EU33 health
• EU39 narcotics.
The Prime Minister’s Office is responsible for the general policy outlines of Finland’s EU policy and coordinates the preparation of EU affairs and their discussion by the Government. Decisions on Finland’s EU policy outlines are made by the Cabinet Committee on European Union Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister. At civil servant level, the coordination of EU affairs is carried out under the Committee for EU affairs and its sector-specific preparative sub-committees.
The Parliament of Finland participates actively in the preparation of the EU’s home affairs. The Government informs the Parliament of EU affairs and, before the Council convenes, the ministers present the meeting’s agenda to the Finnish Parliament’s Grand Committee.