In Finland certain EU support payments may continue to be coupled to the production in the next few years. Finland was granted a derogation allowing the payment of 10 per cent as coupled support. Slovenia will be allowed six per cent of coupled support, while the other Member States may pay 3.5 per cent as coupled support. The total amount of EU support payments will stay at the current level of 565-570 million euros a year.
The EU agriculture ministers have reached an agreement on the Health Check of the CAP. The main outlines for agricultural policy were decided up until 2013. The most important issues for Finland were the consequences of the abolition of the milk quota system and continuation of coupled payments.
A decision was made on raising the rate of compulsory modulation, i.e. transfer of funds from direct payments to rural development. The rural development funds of the EU available for Finland per year will increase by 6 -15 million euros. National funding is also required. The funds may be used to finance rural development measures relating to e.g. climate change, water protection, renewable energy and the milk sector.
The coupled EU payments were again reduced. Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Sirkka-Liisa Anttila considers it very significant that Finland was granted a derogation of 10 per cent for coupled payments not allowed to the other Member States. "This will allow us to look for solutions which ensure the continuation of production, especially in the milk and beef sectors”, Minister Anttila points out. Unlike before, there is now about five million euros available for financing these solutions. Within the 10 per cent, national funds may also be used to support the milk sector. Minister Anttila considers it important that the rural development measures may also be reinforced.
"Now we must start the work in our own country. Decisions on the implementation of the system and allocation of funds to different production sectors will be made together with the producer organisations by the beginning of August 2009”, says Minister Anttila.
EU payments for starch potato will be transferred to the single payment scheme in 2012. ”National arrangements will be searched for to ensure that starch potato production continues in Finland”, Minister Anttila stresses.
Milk quota system will be abolished in 2015. Finland has demanded that the quotas should be maintained, but this did not find support among most of the Member States. The quotas will be raised by one per cent a year until 2013. The situation on the milk market will be assessed based on reports in 2010 and 2012 and the necessary action will be taken.
Minister Anttila notes that the decision on quotas has no immediate impacts on the milk sector. "Winding down the quota system increases competition on the milk market, but this will also depend on the trends on the global milk product market. The Ministry follows the impacts of the abolition of the quotas and development of the Finnish milk sector very closely”.
The Council also decided on the so-called school fruit scheme, aimed to promote healthy eating habits among children and the young by offering free vegetables and fruits in schools. Finland will decide on the introduction of the scheme later on, after having examined the costs.
Further information at the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry:
Jouni Lind, State Secretary, tel. +358 (0)50 521 3305