The Grand Committee of theFinnish Parliament has issued a statement on the Nature Restoration Law of the EU. The Finnish Forest Industries Federation agrees with the committee’s decision to specify and tighten the Government’s stance.

According to the statement, the Grand Committee does not approve of the Nature Restoration Law in its present form as proposed by the Commission and requires significant changes to the proposal as well as attention to national forest policy. Moreover, for reasons of equity, the Grand Committee proposes considerable amendments to the costs falling upon Finland. According to assessments, the costs incurred by the implementation of the targets would be extremely high for Finland and extensively impact the national budget.

The Grant Committee formulated its stance after processing by various special committees of Parliament. The common message from the committees was that the Nature Restoration Law proposed by the Commission cannot be accepted in its current form.

The Finnish Forest Industries Federation believes that the statement from the Grand Committee highlights the right issues; however, a stronger stance concerning the restoration targets would be prudent.

- The comprehensive processing by Parliament and the wide-ranging discussion on the EU initiative that considerably impacts the use of forests are extremely important steps. I’m particularly pleased to see that, as a result, Finland broadened its stance to place more emphasis on the economic impact of the initiative, says Maija Rantamäki, Manager, International and EU Forest Affairs at the Finnish Forest Industries Federation.

The Finnish Forest Industries Federation has repeatedly stated that nature restoration as part of promoting biodiversity is crucial and that Finland is already conducting extensive restoration measures. However, the restoration targets should be balanced with other environmental objectives, such as climate targets, the availability of renewable materials and energy self-sufficiency. The impact on employment rates in the regions should also be considered. In practice, this would mean lowering the binding restoration targets.

- The Restoration Law applies to a wide range of Finnish forests, including peatland forests, and, therefore, the industry’s procurement of raw materials. The forest industry helps the world break free from fossil-fuel economy as the demand for renewable, recyclable wood products is constantly increasing. The products manufactured by the forest industry also help address other global challenges, such as population growth, ageing and urbanisation. Maintaining the operational prerequisites of such an industry will benefit us all, says Rantamäki.

For decades, Finland has carried out nature restoration projects by means of voluntary systems. The Finnish Forest Industries Federation emphasises that healthy forests are the basis for the procurement of raw materials for the forest industry, and the forest industry is committed to promoting biodiversity.

The statement by the Grant Committee will guide Finland’s negotiations in the Council.