Climate change mitigation, economic growth prospects and Finland's special characteristics at the focus of Finland's EU strategy on climate and energy issues
On Wednesday 13 June, the Cabinet Committee on European Union Affairs adopted a national strategy on ways to influence the EU's climate and energy policies to enhance Finland's opportunities to have impact on the related decision making within the EU. Finland will take active part in international cooperation and pursue a binding and effective global climate treaty that aims at cutting off global warming to two degrees Celsius. Finland also emphasises the great potential for growth and new jobs provided by the new environmental and energy technologies this applies not only on our domestic and export markets but also on EU level. At the same time, it is important to ensure that Finland's special characteristics, such as our northerly location and associated climate conditions, the structure of industry and features of energy protection, are given due attention in EU-level policies.
Policies concerning energy and climate affairs are increasingly being introduced by the EU. In the international arena, the EU occupies a significant role in efforts to prevent climate change and reach agreement on a new climate convention. Currently, the focus is shifting to the post-2020 targets. Over the next few years, the European energy sector will be subject to enormous investments which, due to their long-term nature, are likely to affect energy policy solutions long into the future. Finland wants to exercise an active influence on related discussions and, at the same time, take full part in the work on ongoing and forthcoming proposals.
The drawing up of the national strategy on ways to influence the EU's climate and energy policies makes parts of Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen's Government Programme. The strategy lists ten areas of action. In efforts to meet the climate challenges, it will be particularly important to find ways to mitigate climate change, draw attention to Finland's special characteristics and seize the provided opportunities for economic growth.
The strategy focuses on issues related to securing competitiveness and the supply of energy, curbing the threat of carbon leakage, and restricting the greenhouse gas emissions of international air and sea traffic with global agreements. The aim is also to coordinate climate and energy policy objectives with other sectoral objectives, formulate Finland's coordinated position up to 2050 based on the existing prospects system for coordinating our EU policy, and to guarantee sufficient national resources for preparatory work on EU issues.
Judged by the political climate in the EU Member States, it is not self-evident how they will react to the tightening of the climate commitments. A number of Member States are of the opinion that climate policy should go hand-in-hand with the current difficult economic situation and they are not willing to jeopardise economic growth by stricter emissions targets. Some Member States, however, are in favour of stricter targets for 2020 and see them as a positive means to boost the economy.
Inquiries: Toivo Hurme, Counsellor, EU Affairs, tel. +358 9 1602 2157 or +358 40 505 4403 and Jori Arvonen, State Under-Secretary for EU Affairs, tel. +358 9 1602 2182 or +358 50 553 6117, Prime Ministers Office