National preparation of agricultural policy
The European Union has full and primary competence in the preparation of the objectives and measures of the agricultural policy and their implementation and follow-up within the whole EU. The Member States cannot implement national agricultural policies only or issue national provisions differing from those agreed on and laid down on the EU level. National acts and decrees may supplement the EU legislation where these set out only the principles or minimum requirements for a certain measure or condition.
Agriculture and agricultural support are being regulated by numerous regulations of the European Parliament and of the Council, regulations and decisions of the European Commission and national acts issued under these. The national acts are supplemented by decrees issued by the Government and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry laying down further provisions on the objects and levels of aid and other nationally applicable conditions for the payments and production.
Preparation of the national agricultural policy in Finland is mainly concerned with the interpretations and national implementation of the conditions relating to different support schemes within the limits set by the EU rules. Especially when significant changes are being made in the agricultural policy of the EU, there is broadly-based preparation and efforts to influence the work and decisions in various EU contexts with regard to issues of special importance for Finland, extending to the practical implementation and assessment of the impacts on individual farms. Besides the administration and representatives of the producer organisations and experts from research institutes, various other stakeholders are involved in the preparation.
The agricultural support instruments funded in full from national sources that supplement the EU support schemes must comply with the principles of the EU agricultural policy and, as a rule, approval by the European Commission is always required for the national schemes. According to the Act on the National Aids for Agriculture and Horticulture 1559/2001, representatives of the state and producer organisations must always conduct official negotiations on the programme proposals to the European Commission concerning the national aids. These negotiations serve as a forum for discussing other matters relating to the agricultural and horticultural support schemes and farmers' incomes. In the negotiations the representatives of the state and producer organisations also consider the use of the following year's appropriation for the national aid for different purposes.