Author Maria Ohisalo, original in Finnish: Laitetaan muutkin maat ympäristö- ja ilmastotöihin (

Environmental expertise is one of the best areas of Finnish know-how we can export to the European Union and beyond. A strong Finnish environmental contribution to the EU benefits both Finland and the EU, writes Maria Ohisalo.

Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Kai Mykkänen (National Coalition Party) and the rest of the government have made it clear that Finland opposes the EU Restoration Law, regulation that would create a framework for the EU to halt biodiversity loss by 2030 and improve the state of nature. In practice, this means the regulation will be overturned, even though recent polls show that the majority of citizens support it, both here and elsewhere in the EU.

Throughout history, there has been widespread opposition to EU environmental measures in Finland, starting with the Natura project. In particular, the debate on forests in the context of the EU continues to provoke strong emotional reactions.

One of the most common arguments against EU environmental action is that Finland has already done more than others.

The argument is illogical. First of all, we must ask how well public debate is informed debate, when one in nine species in Finland and almost half of the habitat types are endangered. So have we been as good as we think? Or have we only been good from the point of view of the forest industry and has the debate got bogged down there? And another thought: Shouldn’t Finland be involved in strengthening the EU’s environmental measures, which are binding on all Member States, including and especially those that Finns feel have managed their environment worse than Finland?

It is quite obvious that Finland has so far been ahead of many other countries in environmental matters, including within the EU. We have expertise in both environmental policy and technology in the field. By strengthening the EU’s environmental policy, we will share the EU’s burden more evenly in halting the climate crisis and biodiversity loss. At the same time, we will increase the EU’s power to demand more ambitious action from others in the climate and biodiversity loss crises. When the EU says to others, “See what we do and follow suit”, it is much more effective than demanding that others do things but we simply spread our hands and shrug.

At the same time, we are creating markets for environmental technology and, with it, opportunities for business. Global demand for the industry’s products is growing all the time, and global competition is intensifying. China has already come a long way in many areas, such as the production of solar panels. It is high time to make the most of our remaining conditions in the face of intensifying competition. In this, the Greens and Finnish business interests are strongly on the same page.

The best way to do this is to have our own well-functioning markets, first in Finland and then in the EU.

Finland has a lot to take to the European Parliament. Environmental attitudes, experience in the field and expertise are among our strengths, if we so decide in the elections.

It is in Finland’s interest that we do our part to strengthen those groups in the European Parliament that take an active approach to environmental issues. The Green Group in this House has the best track record of this. The Greens are consistently the best party in the EU’s environmental and climate policy. This is evident from all comparisons made.

Maria Ohisalo
The writer is a Member of Parliament and a Green candidate in the European elections

See also the Green Sisu online event with Maria Ohisalo on June 3.