Cooperation in the EU

Finland promotes sustainable development and integration of the environment in all sectors within the European Union.

The Ministry of the Environment coordinates, prepares and monitors EU environmental affairs within the fields of the environment and nature conservation.  The Prime Minister's Office is responsible for preparing general EU policy outlines for Finland and coordinating the preparation and handling of issues related to the European Union in the ministries.

The European Union is a party to numerous international environmental agreements, which are also binding on Finland.

EU environmental law

The EU’s environmental policy is mainly implemented through national legislation. EU environmental law is approved by its Environment Council and the European Parliament, on the basis of proposals by the European Commission.

The Ministry of the Environment and other ministries are in charge of the enforcement of EU environmental law in Finland. The European Commission supervises the implementation and enforcement of EU law in member states through a supervisory procedure.

Environment Council of the Council of the European Union

Within the European Union, the member states form the Council of the European Union, also known as  the Council of Ministers. Together with the European Parliament, this is one of the two key legislative bodies in the Union. The ministers responsible for environmental affairs form the Environment Council, which convenes four times a year. In addition to Environment Council meetings, the ministers of the environment hold an unofficial meeting twice a year.

The Council's work is prepared by the Committee of Permanent Representatives (Coreper), which comprises the ambassadors of the member states' missions.

Under the Council, the Working Party on the Environment has been established. Member states are represented in the working parties by officials working at the member states' missions and/or posted from each member state. International environmental issues are handled in a different working party than the Working Party on the Environment. These working parties prepare matters for the Council's consideration.

EU legislation on buildings and construction

The Ministry of the Environment is in charge of construction-related matters such as construction product approvals, the environmental impacts of buildings and the energy efficiency of buildings and construction products.

The EU legislation on buildings and construction is mainly prepared by the Competitiveness Council and the Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Council of the Council of the European Union.

Other European cooperation

The European Conference of Ministers Responsible for Regional and Spatial Planning (CEMAT) is the cooperation forum of ministers representing the 47 member states of the Council of Europe. It promotes regional planning cooperation between the European Union and other European countries. For Finland, it is important that Russia is an active participant in the CEMAT cooperation. Representatives of the member states convene at the Committee of Ministers.  Located in Strasbourg, the Secretariat of the Council of Europe is tasked with regional planning cooperation and matters related to the European Landscape Convention.

Other cooperation forums include, for example, the VASAB Committee on Spatial Planning and Development of the Baltic Sea Region. The Committee prepares ministerial meetings and implements their decisions.