Vulcan Insight

Finland Pledges Carbon Neutrality Ahead of EU Presidency

7 June 2019

As Finland prepares to take over the rotating EU presidency from next month, the country’s new left leaning government said on Monday that it will aim to cut its carbon emissions completely by 2035. After lengthy talks following April’s general election, Finland agreed on a new five-party government which has pledged to increase public spending by €1.23bn a year and spend another €3bn on one-off investments, notably in the rail network, over the four-year lifetime of the government.

The coalition agreement sets a carbon neutrality target for 2035 which will obligate Finland to reduce its carbon emissions below the amount that can be absorbed by forests, wetlands and technology. The Green party emerged as the second largest party in the Finnish EU elections last month piling pressure on the new government to respond to voters’ concerns over climate change.

With Finland set to take up the EU presidency on July 1, we can expect to see a renewed effort to kick start the European Commission’s plan, published last November, which would see the EU to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. With that policy receiving the endorsement of the outgoing European Parliament, Finland will seek consensus at European Council level to take it forward. However, the issue will have to receive unanimous approval in order to make it applicable to all 28 member states. With next week’s European Council meeting set to be dominated by discussions on who will take up the key EU posts, the Fins will seek to make progress on climate change ahead of full Council meetings in October and December.