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Finland’s first European Council remembered in Tampere

Published 14.10.2019 15.10

It marks 20 years since the European Council held a special meeting on 15 and 16 October 1999 in Tampere. In retrospect, the view of the experts has been that the summit of Tampere was one of the most important ones in European history. Under the leadership of Paavo Lipponen, who served as Prime Minister during Finland’s Presidency in 1999, the summit of Tampere aimed for the construction of a common space of freedom, security and justice for the European Union.

European summit in Tampere 1999
European summit in Tampere 1999.

The content of the European summit was significant. It was decided that under Finnish leadership, particularly matters including common policies on asylum and immigration, the right to move freely throughout the Union and guidelines on police and justice cooperation would be on the agenda of the summit. The special meeting of the European Council became the official term of the meeting. The significance of the meeting is reflected by the fact that in Brussels, Tampere is still known as the “capital city" of the Union’s justice and home affairs.

The guidelines set in the meeting were published in a document titled “Towards a Union of Freedom, Security and Justice: The Tampere Milestones". The objective of the Tampere summit was to establish guidelines and around 60 individual measures and objectives were recorded in the document. For example, the European arrest warrant can be considered as one of the practical achievements of the meeting. A lot of attention was also given to the discussions regarding establishing a common asylum procedure.

The meeting was attended by British Prime Minister Tony Blair, President of France Jacques Chirac, German Federal Chancellor Gerhard Schröder and Commission President Romano Prodi, among others. Jean-Claude Juncker, who became President of the Commission in 2014, was also present in Tampere as the Prime Minister of Luxembourg.

An anniversary symposium will be organised in the Main Auditorium of Tampere University at the address Kalevantie 4 on 16 October 2019 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. The event will be opened by Paavo Lipponen, who served as Prime Minister during Finland’s first Presidency in 1999, and the Mayor of Tampere Lauri Lyly will present his words of welcome. The main speaker of the event is the Minister of the Interior Maria Ohisalo. Pekka Järviö will present background information and the results of the Tampere European Council. The panel discussion of the event is titled “Freedom, Security and Justice – All Or Nothing?". The panelists include Academy Research Fellow Rinna Kullaa, Deputy Chancellor of Justice Mikko Puumalainen, Head of the Commission's Representation in Finland Antti Peltomäki and Member of Parliament Johannes Koskinen.

The anniversary symposium is free of charge and open to all. English interpretation is available.

Further information

Head Of International Affairs Erika Eischer Tel. +358 40 545 0011