EU commissioners have gathered in Finland for two days of talks as the country takes over the Presidency of the European Union. Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso will meet the Finnish Prime Minister for official talks later today. Finland took over the presidency from Austria on Saturday. Navigating through the choppy waters of relations between the EU and Russia is a top priority.
Finland also wants to improve the image of the Union in the eyes of its citizens. Helsinki is keen to share the lessons of its successful economic and social model with its counterparts.Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen said he would explain the Finnish model of combining economic flexibility with social funding to EU leaders at an informal summit in October.
With a booming economy epitomised by the ubiquitous Nokia company, the Finns want to show the rest of the EU how to overcome sluggish growth and high unemployment.