STATE OF NEGOTIATIONS AND FUTURE PROSPECTS
1. At the Ministerial meeting in June we said that Finland was satisfied with the progress made so far.
Now, after four months, we have reached the stage in the negotiations when more difficult items are on the table.
2. Since the previous meeting the Community has set a timetable for the enlargement, 1 January 1995.
In Finland we welcome this decision of the Copenhagen summit. It corresponds to our intention to participate as a Member State in the 1996 process. Moreover, a clear goal helps to keep up the momentum in the negotiations.
3. Finland has done and will do its utmost in order to proceed without delay in the negotiations and to conclude them as soon as a mutually acceptable result is achieved.
In view of this we have submitted the Finnish position on all items which are on the work programme.
4. In order to respect the target set in Copenhagen, not many questions should be pending at the beginning of next year.
From the Finnish side we have stated that the aim should be to make the following progress in the negotiations by the end of the year:
One: to elaborate solutions in the areas of agriculture and regional policy, evidently the weightiest items on the agenda;
Two: to clear the rest of the traditional Community sectors, many of which are already covered by the EEA Agreement;
Three: to deal with the items of the Maastricht Treaty - that is, common foreign and security policy, economic and monetary union and cooperation in home and justice affairs;
Four: to start the work on the horizontal issues - in other words, on our participation in the institutions and budget.
We presume that the institutional chapter will not cause particular problems in the negotiations. We accept and expect that the basis for negotiations also in this respect is the acquis communautaire as it will exist after the ratification of the Maastricht Treaty.
5. Against the Copenhagen decision, the rather modest progress made since June, should cause some concern. We have understood, however, that in several sectors the EC reply to our position is in the pipeline. Moreover, it should he noted that in addition to the eight chapter headings which have been cleared, there are many areas where only one question is open. This is the case in chapters like services, capital and competition.
6. Mr. Chairman, before going into somewhat more detail in two key areas, namely agriculture and regional policy, I would like to reflect in a few words our basic approach in these crucial issues.
Our basic approach is simple: to ensure that the goals of Community policies are also reached in Finland and that we thus gain an equal status with the other Member States.
It goes without saying that the most important goal for us Finns is to keep our country viable. Conditions must be such that people can live and prosper in all parts of the country irrespective of the hardships and disadvantages that they may face due to climatic and geographical reasons.
Finland is a large country with very few people. The sparseness of the population is especially marked in the areas which will form the external border of the Community.
We must keep the whole country inhabited. This is the crux of the matter. Agriculture and regional policy are the key elements in this respect.
7. The Community has stressed on many occasions that agriculture has a special role in maintaining rural population and its livelihood.
Finland fully shares the objectives of the Common Agricultural Policy as defined in the Treaty of Rome. However, it is clear that these objectives could not be achieved in the Finnish conditions without a sufficient compensation to the farmers for the severe price cuts they have to face due to accession.
Finland agrees not only with the objectives but also with the mechanisms of the CAP. That is why the main emphasis in our position is laid on direct support measures per acreage and livestock unit instead of price support.
May I in this connection also point out the very modest magnitude of Finland's agricultural sector when compared with that of the Community. Our production volumes for the main products are around one per cent of the Community total. This is especially important when thinking of the financial implications.
8. Mr. Chairman, for the above reasons regional and structural policy are of the greatest importance for Finland.
To say it once again, our aim in the negotiations is to ensure the harmonious and balanced development of our regions and to keep the whole country inhabited. This is important for economic, societal as well as for security policy reasons.
In our view there should be no major obstacles in reaching our aim, because our objectives in this sector are very much similar to those of the Community. We are prepared to give our contribution to reach the common goals in the Community as a whole, as well as in Finland.
The acquis communautaire in broad terms is not problematic for us. However, the specific conditions, which we bring as new elements into the Community, should in our view be taken duly
into account. A large area with very low population density, long distances and harsh climatic conditions are among the characteristics, which reflect our reality.
We have presented our position in a straight-forward and open manner. Ve are prepared to enter into concrete negotiations in the same manner. I am confident that a mutually satisfactory, fair solution can be found also in this sector.
9. Mr. Chairman, I would also like to say some words on environmental, health and safety considerations relating to products.
We share the Community objectives that the norms concerning safety, health and the environment should be at a high level. Over the years, Finland has created high standards for these norms and reached a favourable situation in many areas. Understandably we would like to keep these achievements when joining the Community. We hope you have understanding for this fundamental objective in the negotiations. A suitable basis for finding a solution would be to allow for a certain transitional period, in the course of which the questions would be submitted to a conmmon scientific evaluation.
10. To conclude, Mr. Chairman, we see a need to concentrate on the essentials in these negotiations and to speed up the process in order to bring results for confirmation at the next Ministerial meeting.
Otherwise, it will he difficult to achieve the objectives which we have set at the political level.
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