Finland is voting against EU forest policy due to ambiguities

Finland intends to vote against the EU climate law with concerns about the criteria of the forest management proposal.

The law is part of the EU’s classification system, also known as the EU’s taxonomy, which sets out a list of environmentally sustainable economic activities.

The Parliament’s Committee of EU Ministers announced that it intends to vote against the proposal at its meeting on Wednesday morning, but Finland’s official position will later be confirmed by a large parliamentary committee.

In a statement issued on Wednesday morning, the government welcomed the aim of the delegated act, but expressed concern about aspects of the proposal. "are difficult to understand and are open to interpretation".

"The ambiguity of the criteria could lead to a situation where forestry would be left out of the taxonomy, making it more difficult to obtain funding for forest investments," The opinion stated and added that the details of forest management should remain within the control of each Member State.

The criteria contained in the delegated act have also raised concerns in the Finnish forest industry.

The taxonomy regulation has already been approved by the European Parliament and will be voted on by the EU Council of Ministers later this year.

The Greens, the left, oppose the committee’s position

In a joint statement released on Wednesday, the governing coalition partners Greens and the Left Alliance expressed opposition to the line proposed by the parliamentary committee.

"We believe that the line aimed at repealing the delegated act is detrimental both to Finland’s interests and to climate policy," Foreign minister Pekka Haavisto (green) and the Minister of Education Li Andersson (left) said in a joint statement.

Both sides further emphasized that the purpose of the Taxonomy Regulation is to establish criteria for financial management in a climate-sustainable manner.

"A policy that votes against the law would have a negative effect on the realization of Finland’s and the EU’s climate goals and obligations under the Paris Climate Agreement. [Climate] agreement," The statement continued, adding that opposing the law would not benefit Finland’s advocacy work in the EU and could in fact jeopardize Finland’s other national interests.

Green party chair Maria Ohisalo also responded to the committee’s announcement on Wednesday and wrote it "Finland is on the wrong side of the development with regard to the taxonomy of sustainable EU funding that curbs climate change and the loss of biodiversity.".

Ohisalo said in a separate interview with Yle that he was surprised that the government would not be able to reach a consensus on the matter.

"We are surprised that no common ground was found here within the government when considering the government’s climate action and biodiversity loss agreements," Ohisalo said and added that he had found it "unfortunate" that Parliament would oppose the taxonomy in the interests of the forest industry.

According to Yle’s information, the Greens and the Left Alliance intend to vote against the committee’s proposal in the Grand Committee when Finland’s official position is completed.

Finland rarely votes against the view of the EU-level majority.

Source: The Nordic Page


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