As of the 1 July 2006 Finland took over the Presidency of the EU from Austria.  Finland's Prime Minister, Matti Vanhanen announced  in Helsinki the country's plans for its presidency.  The plans focus on four main areas:  the future of the EU, competitiveness, external relations and justice and home affairs.

The start of Finland's presidency also brings to a close the period of passive reflection on the European constitution, and the start of active discussion, with EU Member States and Institutions. 

Finland also aims to increase the transparency of the EU, and it's legislative process, by clarifying legislation and paying more attention to its effects.  Finland also aims to discuss enlargement in December and hopes that Europe can become a group of equal Member States, rather than having old and new Member States. 


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