Fresh off completing domestic budget negotiations on Tuesday evening, Finnish Prime Minister Antti Rinne headed to Paris on Wednesday for talks with French President Emmanuel Macron. The two are to meet at the Élysée Palace around 3 pm (4 pm Finnish time).
With Finland currently holding the rotating EU Council presidency, their discussions are to focus on major EU issues.
According to the Finnish government, these will include concluding talks on the Union's multi-year budget framework as well as the rule of law within the EU, work on climate change, EU enlargement talks, defence cooperation, hybrid threats and Brexit.
Finland has sought to push ahead negotiations on the multi-annual financial framework by surveying the views and priorities of each member state, and is now crunching these numbers into written form. Funding decisions will determine how ambitiously defence cooperation, for instance, can be advanced.
At their October 17-18 summit in Brussels, the member states are expected to decide on formally opening membership negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania. They were unable to reach unanimity on the question in June.
Rinne also plans to travel soon to Hungary to meet with his counterpart Viktor Orbán, who over the summer criticised Finland in response to pressure over his right-wing government's implementation of the rule of law.
From France to Satakunta
On Monday Rinne will visit Rauma on Finland's southwest coast. The PM, a former union boss, is to visit a UPM paper mill that launched redundancy talks on Tuesday. Rinne's office says he aims to find out about the status of the plant and its impact on the town's employment situation.
Last week, paper giant UPM said it will close one of the mill's three large paper machines by the year's end. This will likely lead to one third of the facility's workforce, or nearly 180 people, losing their jobs. Stunned by the extent of the planned job cuts, workers protested last week with a one-day work stoppage.
Before becoming leader of the Social Democratic Party five years ago, Rinne led three trade unions between 2002 and 2014.