Finland will hold the Presidency of the Council until the end of 2019. Hearings in all the European Parliament Committees took place from 23 July onwards where Finamnd's priorities for its Presidency are presented by the Ministers in charge. Transport and Communications Minister Sanna Marin and Economic Affairs Minister Katri Kulmuni presented the Finnish Presidency priorities to the EP's Transport and Tourism (TRAN) Committee on 24 July.
Europe needs a broader offering of transport services, and automation will be key to solve environmental and safety challenges, Minister Sanna Marin told MEPs. Regarding the legislative proposals tabled so far, the Presidency will try to reach a position on rail passenger rights and Eurovignette, will continue working on summer time arrangements and is ready to negotiate on the Mobility Package. They would also like to put air passengers’ rights back on the agenda.
Minister Katri Kulmuni, responsible for tourism, said that the main priority in this field will be to boost digitalisation of the tourism sector to accelerate growth and employment.
MEPs voiced support for concluding the legislative work on the Single European Sky and Eurovignette proposals. They also quizzed the ministers on rail transport, how to overcome differences on the Mobility Package, the proposal to open up coach and bus markets, how to ensure that there is a reduction in traffic levels with increasing automation as well as financial support for the tourism sector under the new EU long-term budget.