The controversial restoration decree went through after dramatic stages – Kai Mykkänen was disappointed

On Monday, the regulation on the restoration of nature was finally passed by the Council of the European Union member states. The necessary qualified majority to approve the regulation was found.

Finland still voted against the regulation because it fears that its costs will become high.

A political agreement was reached on the content of the regulation in tripartite negotiations between the Council of the member states, the European Parliament and the EU Commission already in November.

However, the approval of the so-called trilogy agreement got stuck in the council of the member states this spring, because Hungary turned its back. It was an exceptional case. In general, the final approval of trilogy agreements is a mere formality.

Minister of the Environment and Climate Kai Mykkänen (kok), Finland is now starting to look for ways to implement the regulation as cost-effectively as possible.

“Here, we should have strived for an even more reasonable solution. But now the regulation is in this form, and we will start implementing it on this basis.”

At this stage, Mykkänen does not want to estimate what kind of costs the implementation of the regulation will ultimately bring to Finland.

In the Commission’s original proposal, it was estimated that the cost effects of the restoration will be approximately EUR 930 million per year for Finland. The final amount will not be this high, because there were some flexibilities in the regulation.

“A lot now depends on how we can build a palette in the national restoration plan so that the biotypes that occur very widely in Finland and forestry can be coordinated so that forestry can be practiced sensibly.”

Finland is concerned about the economic use of forests

Restoration brings binding obligations to improve the state of nature in different habitats.

Measures must cover at least 20 percent of the EU’s land and sea areas by 2030 and all ecosystems in need of restoration by 2050.

The restoration decree applies to marshes, wetlands, meadows, waterways, forests, agricultural environments and cities, among other things.

What was difficult for Finland in the regulation was, above all, the so-called prohibition of degradation in four common types of forested habitats: woody swamps, ridge forests, groves and boreal forests.

Environmental advisor Olli Ojala from the Ministry of the Environment says that the regulation is partially inconsistent with the practice of forestry.

“The core question is how to define the ‘good condition’ of the habitat type and how to coordinate the economic use of forests with the preservation of the ‘good condition’.”

“We have acted consistently”

Finland voted against the restoration proposal last summer, when the Council of Member States formed its position on it. However, the regulation narrowly passed the council at the time.

When the council voted for the approval of the so-called trilogy negotiation result for the first time in November, Finland abstained from voting. The reason for the somewhat more positive position was the flexibilities that had been added to the regulation as a result of the negotiations.

However, abstaining from voting in EU qualified majority decisions is also considered a vote against.

According to Mykkänen, Finland has acted consistently in the last twelve months regarding the restoration regulation. However, according to him, the EU’s decision-making process had special features.

“It shouldn’t normally happen that the Council has first approved the trilogy agreement with a qualified majority decision, and then Hungary suddenly changed sides [toisessa äänestyksessä]. EU decision-making should not get stuck in this way. If the same text is presented in December and March, then it would be desirable that the member countries understand how to act in the same way [molemmissa äänestyksissä].”

By Editor

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