Friday, 5 June 2009

Baltic Sea report (Finland)

The Baltic Sea joins eight member of the European Union and Russia. The EU is preparing a Baltic Sea strategy, geared towards economic opportunities.

The government of Finland has prepared a national report, which deals with the marine environment, marine traffic and economic cooperation.

Here is the text of the Finnish government’s press release:

Government Communications Unit
5.6.2009 12.05

Government outlined measures to save the Baltic Sea

At its plenary session on Friday 5 June, the Government approved a report on measures to improve the marine environment of the Baltic Sea, to increase the safety of marine traffic and to strengthen economic cooperation.

The report concentrates on actions that, for Finland, are the most important and most urgent in terms of the Baltic Sea. The most serious problem concerning the Baltic Sea is eutrophication, which is most visible in the form of water surface algal proliferations recurring every summer. To stop eutrophication, measures to reduce the nutrient load from households, industry and agriculture are needed.

In Finland, agriculture accounts for the largest burden on water bodies. The Government proposes in the report measures that will decrease the nutrient load from agriculture in Finland in the next few years. This will take place especially by means of a more careful targeting of agri-environmental support at the most risk-prone areas and field parcels.

The higher traffic volumes in oil and chemical transports and passenger traffic, particularly in the narrow Gulf of Finland, increase accidents risks. The report outlines measures to improve the safety of marine traffic and to prevent accidents in advance. Oil-spill response capabilities will be enhanced by drawing up concrete plans together with Sweden, Estonia and Russia in order to correct shortfalls in equipment, for example.

For Finland, the Baltic Sea region is also an economic opportunity and a route for transports and energy. These issues are treated comprehensively in the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, currently under preparation. The Government report focuses on economic issues that are the most important for Finland, such as the promotion of the business environment of Finnish companies in the Baltic Sea countries.

The EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region forms a central instrument for Finland’s Baltic Sea policy and a channel for exerting influence. The achievement of concrete results concerning the Baltic Sea calls for parallel and simultaneous measures and close cooperation with all countries in the Baltic Sea region. The Northern Dimension provides a functional forum for Baltic Sea cooperation with non-EU countries, particularly Russia.


Further information: Kare Halonen, State Secretary for EU Affairs, Government Secretariat for EU Affairs, tel. +358 9 1602 2180 and Mikaela Grönqvist, Special Adviser, Ministry of the Interior, tel. +358 9 1604 3511


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Report

The Report is addressed to the Parliament of Finland: Itämeren haasteet ja Itämeripolitiikka. Hallistuksen selonteko (in Finnish).



In Swedish: Östersjöns utmaningar och Östersjöpolitiken. Statsrådets redogörelse




Ralf Grahn