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Prime Minister Juha Sipilä (Centre) had the floor during a plenary session in the Finnish Parliament on Thursday, 7 September, 2017.
Prime Minister Juha Sipilä (Centre) had the floor during a plenary session in the Finnish Parliament on Thursday, 7 September, 2017.

 

The Finnish government is doing its utmost to ensure the fairness of the new accounting rules for land use, land-use change and forestry proposed by the European Commission, promises Prime Minister Juha Sipilä (Centre).

“The proposal that has been on the table is in our opinion unfair to Finland,” he stated in the Finnish Parliament on Thursday.

“Sweden, for example, would be able to continue to harvest around 80 per cent of annual forest growth, whereas Finland would suffer if [the harvest volume] was raised even slightly from the current 65 per cent,” highlighted Sipilä.

The European Commission has proposed that the use of forest resources be capped at the levels of 2000–2012, prompting fierce criticism from policy makers in Finland. The proposal would define any use of forest resources exceeding the cap as emissions and, thereby, force member states to either cut emissions from other sectors or buy emissions rights from the market.

For Finland, the rules are problematic particularly because the proposed reference period coincided with a severe economic downturn that affected its already struggling forest industries.

The issue was brought up in the Finnish Parliament on Thursday by Hannu Hoskonen (Centre). He demanded that the government specify what it intends to do to ensure Finland’s ability to use its forest resources is not limited.

“I can assure you that the government has done whatever it can,” Sipilä replied, drawing attention to the efforts of Kimmo Tiilikainen (Centre), the Minister of Agriculture and the Environment.

Sipilä revealed that he has personally discussed the issue with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven and President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker. Finland and Estonia, he added, are also working together to find a compromise on the accounting rules.

The demands for revising the proposal are justified, underscored Sipilä.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Markku Ulander – Lehtikuva
Source: Uusi Suomi

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