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European Union; Finland: Submission of Report on EU Policy

(May 5, 2009) In its Government Report on Finland's EU Policy, submitted to the European Union on April 8, 2009, the Finnish government recommends a number of new guidelines for the EU. The report suggests that:

  • EU net membership fees have a ceiling applicable to all Member States (no ceiling is specified; “[w]e have to allow for some negotiation” the Finnish Prime Minister has stated) (the report provides two charts showing net contributors and net recipients to the EU budget, at pp. 16-17);
  • the agreed-upon period of the EU budget be five years instead of the current seven, to match the terms of the European Commission and European Parliament;
  • member-states make their own decisions on whether or not to declare the entire country or a part of it as “a GMO-free region”; and
  • EU regional and structural subsidies be made conditional, with qualification based on the given member-state's committing itself to “sound economic policy.”

(Finnish Government Proposes New Guidelines to EU, HELSINGIN SANOMAT INTERNATIONAL EDITION, Apr. 9, 2009, Open Source Center No. EUP20090409342004.)

Other issues addressed by the report are the impact on Finland of EU membership, the basic guidelines and key objectives of the country's EU policy, strategies to enhance Finland's influence in the EU, and the development of the EU. The report expresses Finland's support of EU membership for Norway, Iceland, Turkey, and the West Balkan countries. It sets forth in addition some objectives to reach in the 2020s, with a view to their also being included in EU guidelines and decision-making procedures in ten years.

The previous comprehensive EU Policy report was submitted by Finland 14 years ago, in 1995, shortly after it joined the EU. The Prime Minister stated that, because the Treaty of Lisbon [changing the functioning of the EU and certain structures] would “finally come into effect in 2009, another institutional report of this kind will not be required until 20 or so years from now,” but submission of the current report now is well-timed given that EU elections are scheduled for June. (Id.; Press Release 107/2009, Government Communications Unit, Government Report on Finland's EU Policy to Be Submitted to Parliament (Apr. 8, 2009), available at http://formin.finland.fi/Public/Print.aspx?contentid=162411&nodeid=1
5145&culture=en-US&contentlan=2
; PRIME MINISTER'S OFFICE, Publication No. 20/2009, GOVERNMENT REPORT ON EU POLICY (Apr. 8, 2009), available at http://www.vnk.fi/julkaisukansio/2009/j16-eu-selonteko-j17-eu-redogorels
e-20-government-eu-report/pdf/en.pdf
.)